Inside Miss Michelle’s classes

Miss Michelle with dancer Alex

Meet Miss Michelle. In her second year of teaching, Miss Michelle teaches our dancers with sensory needs. Prior to joining the teaching staff, Miss Michelle volunteered in the classes she now teaches. We asked Miss Michelle to give us a look at what goes on inside the Sensory Room.

Here’s what she had to say:

Why is the sensory room important?
The sensory room is important because most if not all of my dancers have special sensory needs that need to be met during class. My students need a smaller room with dim lighting and sensory stimulation to help them concentrate on activities. A typical dance studio would be overwhelming for my dancers, so this studio is wonderful!

 

What features does a sensory room have that other dance studios may not?
Our sensory studio has many components that other dance studios do not have. We have sensory equipment such as body socks, bilibo seats (we call it the turtle seat), massagers, sensory brushes, weighted blankets, a large green stretch band, trampolines, and everyone’s favorite…the bubble tube! All of these are unique items that you would not see in a typical dance studio.

 

What does a class look like for you?
All of my classes are so different from each other, so I have a different routine for each of them! Generally I start class by giving my students time to have sensory stimulation with their volunteer, whether it is deep pressure (my students love to be wrapped up like a taco!), spinning in the bilibo seat, back rubs, using massagers, or anything else they may need. I then have our class do stretches together as a group. After we stretch we bounce on balls usually with a prop like pom poms or scarves and then we bounce on balls on our bellies. After we bounce on balls, I choose activities based on the mood of my students that day and any needs I notice they may have.

My classes love “The Goldfish” song, the parachute, the green band, body socks, obstacle courses, instruments, and trampolines. Each of my class

This picture encapsulates what our program is all about.

activities are short and I alternate structured activities with sensory activities to help my dancers stay focused. The last 5 minutes of every class is when we sit around the bubble tube. My students look at the lights, get deep pressure, blow bubbles, and relax. We always end class with the dancers thanking their volunteers and saying goodbye to everyone in the room.

My students either are nonverbal or have very limited speech, so we work on basic sign language, body language, and eye contact to encourage communication. There are times where I have to make the decision to only focus on sensory activities to meet the needs of my students. The point of dance class is for the dancers to have fun, so I want to give them what they need in order to enjoy themselves!

 

What is your favorite part of class?
I love seeing when my dancers and volunteers have made a connection and built a relationship with each other. Since my students have difficulty communicating, it can be more difficult for those relationships to build. When I see my dancers visibly excited to see their volunteers and have fun with them, it makes me so happy!

 

What does a successful class look like to you?
To me, a successful class is when all of my students are happy. I frequently plan for my classes and then completely stray away from my plans because I want to meet the needs of my dancers and encourage them to have fun! Even if that means all of my dancers are doing different activities with their volunteers, I still think that class was successful because at the end of class the dancers have smiles on their faces and some of them even don’t want to leave!

 

Do you have a great success story of a dancer you have worked with for a few years?
My last class of the night consists of three young teens with autism. For the past few years we have had no routine and just had class consist of them working with their volunteers only doing sensory activities because that is what they needed. This year, I am amazed with what these kids are doing! We now have a class routine that consists of stretching, bouncing on balls, the green band, and a directional song. I’m so excited that we all do similar activities at the same time! My dancers are doing different stretches and ball activities with their volunteers based on their abilities, but to me just the fact that we are doing the same kind of activity together is HUGE! I also think this will be the first year one of the students in this class will be ready to participate in our annual performance!

Anything else important people should know about your classes?
My classes are very different from most of the other classes at danceability because often times we don’t do activities that people may think of as dance. We do a lot of creative movement activities that encourage my dancers to move their bodies and increase their attention span. I love these classes and encourage anyone who is interested to observe a class and consider volunteering with my dancers!


As an INDIVIDUALIZED dance, fitness and movement program, we are so fortunate to have Miss Michelle to assist each of her dancers in their own way. It’s a common occurrence each Thursday night to see dancers come running in (and out) the studio with huge smiles on their faces. We couldn’t think of a better outcome!

Getting to know Miss Amanda S.

Miss Amanda performing – what a beautiful shot

This year, we added Miss Amanda to our teaching staff. She teaches on Wednesday nights and also has been a great fill-in substitute for both Miss Robin & Miss Christine when they were out on their maternity leaves. We wanted you to get to know Miss Amanda better so we asked her about her dance experience, her time with us so far, and a little more about the danceability night at the Bandits game! Here’s what she had to say:

How long have you been dancing?

I have been dancing since I was 18 months old and haven’t stopped since! I started taking classes at Center Stage Dance Studio where I danced up until I graduated high school and then continued to study dance at SUNY Fredonia. I danced at Center Stage Dance Studio up until I graduated high school and moved on to college. I studied at SUNY Fredonia where I was a member of the Orchesis Dance Company and the Fredonia Dance Ensemble throughout my time there. I was able to work with amazing choreographers and professors there that have inspired me and taught me so much!

 

When did you fall in love with dance? What is your favorite type of dance?

I think that I really fell in love with dance when I had my first solo when I was 8 years old. I always loved being on stage but having my first solo really sticks out for me because thats when I found the confidence and love for performing that I continue to carry out today.  I truly love all types of dance but I would have to say my favorite to perform is contemporary and lyrical. Those are the styles that suit me best and that I really love to choreograph.

 

You are the reason our dancers had a great opportunity to perform with the Buffalo Bandettes a few weeks ago. Tell us more about the night and what was involved

This is my first year being a Buffalo Bandette and I absolutely love it! The girls inspire me to be the best I can be and I love being involved in the Buffalo community. When the opportunity came up to have the Bandettes perform with some of our danceability girls, I was thrilled. It was truly a great night for two of my passions to come together. The girls did an amazing job and I couldn’t have been more proud to perform with them in front of thousands!

 

What is your favorite dance memory?
My favorite dance memory to date would probably be finding out that one of the Fredonia Dance Ensemble pieces that I was in made it into the Gala Performance at the 2016 ACDA East Central Conference in Michigan where we were able to perform with other amazing schools in various states. They only selected 13 pieces for this performance and I was so honored and proud to be representing my school and dancing with my fellow classmates! I will remember that forever! 

Miss Amanda and our dancers (and Miss Lisa) before their performance at the Bandits game on February 25th

What have been some of your favorite parts of teaching at danceability so far?
My favorite part of classes thus far being a teacher at danceability has to be the smiles and joy that I see on my students faces when they are truly having fun and enjoying what they are doing! I love being able to share my love for dance with my students and seeing how happy they are when they hear a song that they love or are just feeling inspired by their own movements.
I love being a danceability teacher and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring!
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We are thrilled to have Miss Amanda as part of the danceability family this year and look forward to seeing her Wednesday night class perform in our Annual Performances on Saturday, May 13th. If you didn’t already save the date, get it on your calendar now. More information will be coming soon.

Inside Miss Christine Dwyer’s classes

Now that classes are underway and our dancers & volunteers are getting settled in, we wanted to take you inside the classroom to see what goes on in the studio!

We asked Miss Christine Dwyer to walk us through a typical class, give us insight on where she finds her inspiration for her routines and let us know what new things she is trying out in class!


An oldie but a goodie of Miss Christine with dancer Sarah during one of the first years of danceability!

An oldie but a goodie of Miss Christine with dancer Sarah during one of the first years of danceability!

What does a typical class look like?

I always like to get the blood flowing and the heart rate up first in every class.  We do a warm-up that includes standard dance moves like step dig and includes other moves like shaking our hips.  Our warm-up is always followed by a floor stretch.  After that it depends on the time of year but I love introducing my students to all forms of dance and with that try to include a combination.  We always end class with a high five for everyone (volunteers included)!

Do you have favorite songs you play each week in class?
Two years ago it was “Shake it Off.”  This year it’s going to be a Justin Bieber song or Justin Timberlake song.  It’s just something about those Justins! I also throw in some Pit Bull too!

What’s your favorite part of class?
My favorite part of class is teaching a new step because I love seeing my students try their hardest to perfect the step.  They do such a great job and I love seeing their progression and excitement of realizing they got it! 

Where do you get inspiration for combinations you create or the dances for the performances?
My inspirations usually come on my car rides and almost always come from a particular song or music genre.  I also get inspiration from the use of props, like one year I used sunglasses in a combination and then decided to use them for one of the dances I choreographed.

Miss Christine leading a Fitness Frenzy class (offered during the summer)

Miss Christine leading a Fitness Frenzy class (offered during the summer)

What do you hope your dancers get out of class each week?
Plain and simple I hope they have fun and gain a sense of accomplishment! 

What has been the most surprising thing you have learned since teaching at danceability?
I set the bar high and my dancers reach it! 

How has your teaching style changed or morphed over the past ten years?
I feel that I have become even more creative over the past ten years. I feel my modifications have become stronger and classes are now more cohesive with the steps I teach and the combinations I create.

Are there new dance trends now that you experiment with that you didn’t when danceability was just starting out?
Not so much a trend but a style.  I am by no means a hip hop dancer, but I do try to dabble in it for my students’ sake! 


We are always open to having guests observe our classes to see what goes on firsthand. If you would like to set up a time to observe a class, please contact us at 716-651-0094 or by email at danceabilitywny@gmail.com.

Meet The Teachers!

As we kick off our 10th year, we wanted to take a few minutes to introduce you to this year’s teaching staff. We were sad to say goodbye to two teachers this past year, Miss Megan and Miss Kylie, but we are thrilled to welcome three new teachers, Miss Kathryn, Miss Sarah and Miss Amanda to the danceability family.

Fitting that in our 10th year, danceability has grown to 10 teachers!

Get to know our teachers, hear what they were up to over the summer and see what they are looking forward to this year!
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RETURNING TEACHERS:
Miss Robin & her family at Lake Placid this summer

Miss Robin & her family at Lake Placid this summer

Miss Robin Bishop, Co-Founder and Executive Director

1.) What were you up to over the summer?

I was busy being pregnant and transporting my 3 & 6 year old to their fun summer activities. I also started planning great things for danceability’s 10th Anniversary year!

2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
Besides the birth of my third child!, I am really excited to bring back some dance numbers from the past (more on that, soon!). It should be so fun.

 
3.) It’s danceability’s 10th Anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
I think one big accomplishment is keeping so many dancers with us from day one – and also introducing so many new dancers to dance.

Miss Christine Dwyer, 
Co-Founder and Senior Instructor

Miss Christine D. and her son Jack at the fair this summer!

Miss Christine D. and her son Jack at the fair this summer!

1.) What were you up to over the summer?

This summer was spent with my son Jack! We started summer by celebrating his 1st birthday on June 30th. We also explored all the things Buffalo has to offer. We went to Canalside for Explore and More, had lunch at the Hatch and played in the big sandbox. We went to Bills training camp, the Erie County Fair and the Zoo! We also enjoyed visiting friends and making new ones!

2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
This year I look forward to spending the year celebrating our 10th Anniversary! I am so proud and excited for the past 10 years and can’t wait to take a look back. It will be so much fun!!

3.) It’s danceability’s 10th anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
I feel the biggest accomplishment is touching so many lives! When we started I really only thought about the dancers and their immediate families, but it has been so much more than that. We have touched the lives of our volunteers, Board members, donors and extended families. And they in turn have blessed us! 

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Miss Christine A. enjoying an up close look at a dolphin this summer!

Miss Christine Antinone, Instructor

1.) What were you up to over the summer?

This summer I enjoyed spending time with family and friends. We went to concerts, comedy shows, and enjoyed Canalside. I took a vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and we were able to enjoy the beach and sun. We celebrated many weddings of friends and family that were great fun.

2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
I am looking forward to getting back to dance and meeting all of the dancers and volunteers I will have the opportunity to work with. I am excited to see what the 10th anniversary year will bring, and to share the new and fun dance songs I have found.

3.) It’s danceability’s 10th anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
The biggest accomplishment of danceability has been the ability to bring dance into the lives of every child or adult who is willing to give dance a try. No matter someone’s age, ability, or needs they are able to establish classes so each dancer can be successful. I am truly proud to be apart of such a special organization. 

Miss Lisa with her daughters

Miss Lisa with her daughters

Miss Lisa Book, Instructor

1.) What were you up to over the summer?

Over the summer, I gave birth to my second daughter!!!  We named her Natalee Marie Book!  This summer has been filled with lots of love, joy and some tears, as our two year old has had to adjust to having a new baby sister!  We have been working on a lot of projects around the house and have spent a lot of time in our pool because it has been so HOT!!!

2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
This year, I’m most looking forward to trying out some new warm ups, stretches and combinations that I’ve been working on while on maternity leave!  I cant wait to see all of my returning dancers and I’m very excited to meet some new ones as well!!!

3.) It’s danceability’s 10th anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
I think danceability’s biggest accomplishment in these past 10 years has been the amazing reputation that it has built, which in turn has lead to an outstanding number of students and volunteers!!! And oh my goodness, this coming year, we have 10 teachers as well as 2 office staff!!! We have gone from a one room studio to a two room studio with a large waiting room and sometimes feel like we are bursting at the seams even in the bigger space!!! I talk to everyone I meet about danceability, and I am often surprised (even though I shouldn’t be) that many people have heard about us and have heard great things!!!  I am so PROUD to be a part of this amazing studio and to be a part of these dancers lives!

Miss Michelle P. at paint night with her friends!

Miss Michelle P. at paint night with her friends!


Miss Michelle Phillips, 
Instructor

1.) What were you up to over the summer?
I did lots of fun things this summer!  I relaxed at Long Beach in Canada with my family. My family and I went to Cleveland to see a baseball game against the Yankees (Go Yankees!). I went to the Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas concert with my friend Maggie. I went blueberry picking with my boyfriend Tony and went to a “Paint Nite” with my friends Colleen and Sarah! Plus, I taught summer dance classes at danceability! 

2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
I’m looking forward to trying new activities with my dancers this year.  Over the summer I worked with many of our teachers and learned lots of new activities that I think my dancers will love!  I also am looking forward to seeing my dancers that I haven’t seen since our last class in May!

3.) It’s danceability’s 10th anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
I think the biggest accomplishment of danceability over the last 10 years is giving people with disabilities, young and old the chance to make friends, exercise, and try new things, and become empowered. There are more and more organizations for people with disabilities, but I feel that danceability is different because we are a family. Our dancers and their families make amazing friendships, some of which have lasted about as long as danceability has been open!  I love hearing about our dancers going to each other’s birthday parties or going places together.  Wonderful friendships and memories are made at danceability!

Miss Kayleigh Terranova, Instructor

Miss Kayleigh and her husband in Iceland!

Miss Kayleigh and her husband in Iceland!

1.) What were you up to over the summer?
This summer I’ve been busy with lots of traveling!  I spent time in Charleston, Rhode Island and New York City, but my favorite place I went was Iceland!  My husband, sister and two of our friends spent a week exploring the country, trying the food and immersing ourselves in their culture.  It truly was the trip of a lifetime and a place I highly recommend visiting! 

2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
I am really looking forward to being reunited with my classes from last year, and meeting my new classes for this year!  I am excited to watch my dancers grow and learn new things while having fun at the same time!

3.) It’s danceability’s 10th anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
I think it is incredible how much danceability has grown over the past 10 years.  We really are a family, and wouldn’t be anything without our volunteers and dancers; those who have been with danceability since the beginning and those who have joined along the way!
Miss Elissa with danceability volunteer and her Dad, Paul) at a concert this summer!

Miss Elissa with danceability volunteer and her Dad, Paul) at a concert this summer!

Miss Elissa Webster, Instructor

1.) What were you up to over the summer?
Worked and relaxed!


2.) What are you looking forward to most this year?
New memories!

3.) It’s danceability’s 10th anniversary year – what do you think the biggest accomplishment of danceability has been over the past ten years?
Danceability’s family has grown, ( in dancers and volunteers) and it continues to grow because of the creation of a joyous, positive and welcoming atmosphere for all! 

 

 

 

INTRODUCING OUR NEW TEACHERS:

Miss Kathryn Miner, Instructor

1.) Give us your quick bio so our dancers, families and volunteers can get to know you!

Miss Kathryn over the summer when she participated as an alumnus at her old dance studio!

Miss Kathryn over the summer when she participated as an alumnus at her old dance studio!

My name is Kathryn Miner, Katy for short and I have been dancing since I was 3 years old with tap being my favorite! I am a childhood special education major at Daemen College with my area of study in mathematics! 

2.) Why did you apply to be a danceability teacher?
I applied for this job as a teacher for two reasons: my passion for dance and my desire to continue my career as a dancer! Not only will I be dancing, I will be teaching and be able to learn what is like to teach my own classes, choreograph my own dances, and gain experience working with children and adults with special needs. 
3.) What are you most looking forward to this year?
I am looking forward to seeing my choreography coming to life. Throughout my dance career I subbed for other teachers, co-taught, and assisted teachers but the classes were never fully mine. With that being said, I am so excited to apply my knowledge and love of dance 

Miss Sarah Redman, Instructor

Miss Sarah (left) hiking in Akron Falls with some friends this summer!

Miss Sarah (left) hiking in Akron Falls with some friends this summer!

1.) Give us your quick bio so our dancers, families and volunteers can get to know you!
I am currently in my 4th year at Buffalo State College for my Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Education Grades 1-6 (dual certification).
I love tap dancing, going camping with my family, and I have an obsession with Disney World (especially Cinderella).

2.) Why did you apply to be a danceability teacher?
I applied for the teaching job because I had such an awesome experience when I volunteered over the summer when I was in high school! By volunteering at danceability, it made me realize what I wanted to major in in college. I love everything about the studio!
3.) What are you looking forward to this year?
I have a few things that I am looking forward to this year. The first is that I am looking forward to having the most fun, and amazing experiences teaching all of my students and being able to teach them the love of dance. The second, I am looking forward to graduating in May with my Bachelor’s Degree!

 

Miss Amanda Sanbelmo, Instructor

1.) Give us your quick bio so our dancers, families and volunteers can get to know you!
I started dancing when I was 18 months old and have been dancing ever since. I have been trained in many Styles including tap, jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, and lyrical. I graduated this past

Miss Amanda took a class this summer at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC!

Miss Amanda took a class this summer at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC!

May from SUNY Fredonia with a degree in psychology and dance and was part of the Fredonia Dance Ensemble while in college.

2.) Why did you apply to be a danceability teacher?
I applied to be a danceability teacher so I could share my love and passion for dance with others. I strongly believe that dance brings people together and allows people to grow in so many areas in life and I wanted to be able to give what dance has given me to others!

3.) What are you looking forward to this year?
This year I think I am most looking forward to building relationships with my students and being a part of the danceability family! 

 


Our teaching staff is looking forward to getting to know all their dancers this year and can’t wait to welcome them to the studio next week!
One other new face to danceability is Miss Beth Hess. Miss Beth will be our Evening Office Assistant and will be there to answer any questions our parents, families, staff and volunteers have. She will also be taking tuition payments and keeping everyone updated on the latest happenings at danceability!

Here’s to a great 10th dance year at danceability!

Inside Miss Kayleigh’s classes

IMG_4379We are back with another chance to go inside the studio with one of our new teachers, Miss Kayleigh! Learn about her transition from volunteer to teacher and hear how her performances dances are coming along!
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What age levels do you teach?
My dancers are age 18 and up! I teach two classes on Monday evening.  My first class, I was a volunteer with for 4 years before becoming their teacher, so it has been really fun watching them grow over the past 5 years!  They are the sweetest girls.  My second is a new class of four ladies, two of whom are brand new to danceability.  They all have such great personalities; we have a lot of fun!
 
What does a typical class look like? 
The first half of the year we warm up and stretch, and then try out some new dance steps!  Whether it is a jazz or tap combination, freestyle dancing, using the exercise balls, combinations at the barre or working across the floor, class is filled with fun dance movements that help the students step outside their comfort zone and grow as dancers.
 
Now that the recital is getting closer, we start off with a warm up and stretch, and then work on our dance!  Whether it is adding on new steps, or reviewing and practicing the whole dance, we are working to be ready for the Annual Performance in May!
 
Do you have favorite songs you play each week in class?IMG_4372
In my first class, we love warming up to “Shake It” by Metro Station.  The girl’s smiles during that song are my favorite.  Other than that, I try to change it up by playing different fun pop songs that get the girls dancing and moving.       
 
The Whip/Nae Nae and Wobble are definitely favorites in my second class, I’m pretty sure they would dance to those songs all class if I let them!  They all like different types of music, from rock and roll to Beyonce, so it is always fun putting a playlist together.
          
What’s your favorite part of class?
I enjoy every moment spent with my dancers and volunteers.  They all bring something special to the class and are a true joy to be around.  I love seeing the dancers accomplish something they have been working hard towards.  We share a lot of smiles and laughs and have a lot of fun along the way!  I also really love to see the bonds formed between dancers and their volunteers.  Its something really special being part of the danceability family and it makes this an organization unlike any other.
 
How are performance practices coming along? 

 Great!  I am really excited about the songs and dances this year, and can’t wait to see everything come together.  My dancers really seem to love them and are looking forward to the Performance in May!

Where do you get inspiration for combinations you create or the dances for the performances?
Inspiration for combinations really comes from my dancers.  I think about what makes them happy, what they love to do and what new things they can conquer and let that be my guide when choreographing.  I also teach them steps and combinations throughout the year that will eventually be put into their performance. I still volunteer with Miss Christine on Mondays- Her guidance and watching her teach has been incredibly helpful as well.

IMG_4383What do you hope your dancers get out of class each week?
I hope they leave my class having learned something new or having conquered a step/combination that they have been working on.  I like to keep them smiling, having fun and looking forward to coming back the following week.  I love dancing and hope they feel that in each class I teach.

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We are thrilled to have Miss Kayleigh on our teaching staff this year and think you will love her Annual Performance routines. Don’t forget to join us on May 7th for our 9th Annual Performances. Showtimes are at 1pm & 6pm. Get all the information, HERE!

Inside Miss Megan’s classes

Now that our new danceability instructors have had a handful of months under their belts, we reached out to them to see what’s going on inside their classes. This month, check out what has been going on inside Miss Megan’s classes and how she has enjoyed the transition from classroom volunteer to dance teacher!
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image1What age levels do you teach?
I teach ages from 5 to mid 50’s!  I have two classes on Monday night, my first class is a group of adorable and hardworking little girls.  My second class is a very energetic and silly group of boys. Wednesday nights I co-teach with Miss Kylie!  We teach a little girl and then a group of older women!

What does a typical class look like?
With my little girls on Mondays we start out with lotion/brushing and some stretching and yoga!  We must have obstacle course, free dance and a directional song.  The rest of the time I change depending on what I want to work on.  Some days we bounce on balls, other days we shake maracas or even play follow the leader with animals on our heads to help our posture (thanks Miss Robin for the idea!).  With my boys on Mondays we start with obstacle course and deep pressure to get our energy focused on class.  It helps give them time to transition into class.  We also stretch and do yoga as well as a directional song.  We will also play musical instruments or bounce on balls.  At the end of both classes we take time to relax in front of the bubble lamp!  On Wednesdays Kylie and I let Alex take plenty of breaks in her body sock.  During class we walk on stepping stones, jump on the trampoline, play the drums and bounce on balls!  We finish class with lotion and a juice box!  With our older ladies, Kylie and I start with a stretch and warm-up our arms with resistance bands.  We regularly bounce on balls where we let the dancers create their own moves.  We also always do a free dance!  Then we will learn and work on a combination in class (or learn our dance for the recital!).

Do you have favorite songs you play each week in class?

On Mondays we must end class with the “Goldfish Song”.  Some of our other favorites include “Animal Action”, “Let It Go” and the hip-hop version of “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”.  On Wednesdays our ladies go with the flow but if we put on a song they like, you’ll know!

What’s your favorite part of class?
My favorite part of class is the smiles and the giggles from my students!  I have loved watching my dancers grow throughout the year and to see their excitement as they enter class each week!image7


How are performance practices coming along?
Very well!  We have started our dances in all of my class and the students seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves!  I can’t wait to see how the can inspire me for some new moves!

Where do you get inspiration for combinations you create or the dances for the performances?
In many cases my dancers have inspired me!  During the beginning of the year I would play around with music to see what they liked or even disliked.  Once I found a song that really brought out the best in them as dancers I knew I had a winner for the performance!  I think the songs I have chosen definitely speak to their personalities!  With my Wednesday ladies it is great that Kylie and I get to bounce ideas and choreography off each other.


What do you hope your dancers get out of class each week?

I think each of my dancers gets something different out of class each week.  I try to mold my classes so that the dancers can get what they need.  Whether that is socializing with peers, sensory input or improving dance skills.  At the end of the year, each dancer will walk away from the performance having improved on something different and that is perfectly fine with me!

What has been the most surprising thing you have learned since teaching at danceability?
I think the thing that surprised me the most since starting teaching at danceability has been how much my students can teach and inspire me.  As a teacher you can walk into a class and have a plan in place but there often are times when my dancers bust out a new move or say something to inspire a new activity or one we haven’t done in a while.  It is fair to say each week I walk out of the studio having learned something from my dancers.  However, I shouldn’t be surprised by this; dancers are an inspiring group of people after all!

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How has the transition from volunteer to teacher been
?
I have LOVED becoming a teacher!  I love that I can learn so much from my students.  I love testing myself with new ideas for activities or choreography.  I also love that I still am a volunteer on Thursday’s so I am still learning and taking mental notes during Miss Robin’s class on new activities, things I could improve on as a teacher or different ways of approaching my teaching and explaining things.
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What a great story! We are thrilled to have Miss Megan on as a teacher this year and are looking forward to seeing her dances this May at our Annual Performances.
Stay tuned for another look inside the studio with Miss Kayleigh next month!

Making A Difference in WNY – Robin Bishop and Christine Dwyer

Miss Robin & Miss Christine at the Making A Difference Awards Luncheon

Miss Robin & Miss Christine at the Making A Difference Awards Luncheon

As danceability continues to grow and gain visibility in the community, we have been thrilled as an organization to get some recognition in the community. This past year, we were fortunate to receive a 2015 Spark Award for Rising Star non-profit in the community. Just a few weeks ago, Miss Robin & Miss Christine were honored with a “Making the Difference” Award given out by WNED/WBFO. The award is given to individuals in the community who continually go above and beyond. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Miss Robin & Miss Christine! What started as a very small dance studio for children & adults with special needs has turned into a continually growing and evolving organization that has helped hundreds of individuals with special needs (not to mention their families and our volunteers!).

We asked Miss Robin & Miss Christine what the award meant to them and to talk us through some of the most rewarding and challenging things that have been a part of the danceability journey so far.

Here’s what they had to say!

1.) What does it mean to you to make a difference in the community?

Robin: “I think anything you can do to improve the lives of those around you makes a difference. They don’t have to be big and bold. I am very introverted, but  I find things that work for me.”

Christine: “It means sharing your time and/or talents in your community to make even just one person’s day better. It can mean using your time and/or talents, motivation and/or drive to commit to bettering a neighborhood, a cause or a situation.”

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Miss Robin & Miss Christine receiving their award

2.) How did you feel when you found out you were selected as a recipient of the “Making A Difference” Award?

Robin: “I felt like it must have been a mistake! There are way more deserving people out there, haha!”

Christine: “Honestly, I was very honored by thought there are so many deserving people in our community, how did they decide on me?”

3.) What are your hopes for the next nine years of danceability?

Robin: “I hope we continue to serve our dancers at the highest level. I hope to keep hiring highly skilled instructors and I hope we get a few more staff members working in the office!”

Christine: “I hope danceability continues to flourish. I hope more dancers learn the joys of dance, more volunteers change their lives through their commitment to the organization, more dance instructors learn of the happiness to teach dance to those with special needs. In a few words more people’s lives are touched by the power of dance and a wonderful organization!”

4.) What are you most proud of since starting danceability?

Robin: “I am most happy with the progress I see in my students. So many have been with us since the beginning and I can’t imagine what it would be like without them.”

Christine: “I am most proud of all the lives touched by what we do. When we first started our mission was for our dancers and their families but now I see our impact on our volunteers, our instructors and our audiences. It is so amazing to witness!

5.) What has been your biggest challenge since starting danceability?

Robin: “Our biggest challenges have been handling the business side of things we were unfamiliar with; budgets, finances, and databases. We are a social worker and a teacher; not MBAs!”

Christine: “I would say the biggest challenge was learning the non-profit business side of starting the organization. Luckily we had so many wonderful people in our corner to lean on and teach us how to succeed!”

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12662623_10154516418107786_6773751180293478642_nDidn’t catch the “Making a Difference” video special that aired on WNED? Check it out, HERE. They were also featured in a radio interview on WBFO. Listen HERE. If you see Miss Robin or Miss Christine make sure to congratulate them on the award. We will continue to work hard to bring the best services and programming to the special needs community in the coming years. Thank you to the Western New York community and the continued support of our dancers, families, volunteers and instructors for bringing so much life to danceability! It has truly been a team effort and we look forward to seeing what is next!