The Family Reimbursement Program 

Many of our dancers are eligible to receive service coordination through a social service agency such a People Inc., Aspire etc.  One of the benefits of having a Service Coordinator for your dancer is that this person is tasked with helping your family navigate the sometimes confusing road to various government and social service agencies that you may be need.

A Service Coordinator makes it easier for you to take advantage of all the financial, recreational, and respite benefits your child is entitled to receive.  One such benefit you may be eligible for is funded through The Family Reimbursement Program Western New York Region (Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Allegany, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties). This Family Support Service program is funded through the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).  The program assists families financially who are caring for a family member who has a developmental disability and lives at home.  (Acceptable documentation to verify that eligibility has been determined with OPWDD is required and must be submitted with the application.)

One of the services that may be qualified for reimbursement through this program is dance tuition.  Many local agencies (such as Aspire, Cantalician Center, WNY independent Living Center and many others) have these funds available each year.  You don’t have to have your service coordination through them to request reimbursement. They receive the funds in January and they are distributed on a first come first serve basis, with most having their funds depleted totally by late summer to early fall.  If you are able to pay your dance tuition balance in January for January-May, or better yet, for all of 2018, and submit it in early 2018, your likelihood of having more of the total amount of tuition reimbursed is better.  This of course is if you haven’t asked for reimbursement for other similar programs/funding.  Some smaller or more rural agencies may still have funds for 2017, but hurry!

For an application and more information please check with your Service Coordinator as every case is different. Reimbursement must be for current year fees incurred.   If you need an invoice on letterhead showing what you have already paid,  call the danceability office and they can provide one.

Good Luck!


What is danceability?


Volunteer Jamie with her dance partner

To put it simply, danceability is a non-profit dance studio for children and adults with special needs in Western New York. However, if you were to ask the dancers, families, instructors and volunteers, danceability is so much more!

We decided it was time to create this blog, The danceability Difference, to showcase the stories we all talk about inside our studio, and share them with the community.

When Robin Bishop and Christine Dwyer had the dream to open danceability back in 2007, they focused on making it a studio with a family centered approach. Today, you can’t talk about danceability without using the word family. From the actual families who fill our waiting room each week, to volunteers who may not have met otherwise and students who can’t leave class without giving each other a hug, danceability has truly embraced the word family.

We define danceability as: “noun – to empower through movement”. Our hope is that through dance and creative movement, our dancers will be empowered, inspired and motivated beyond the walls of our studio. Whether building self-confidence, learning a new skill, or finding respite during the week, our instructors and volunteers work hard to ensure our dancers succeed.  What we have found, is that not only are our dancers being inspired, but our volunteers and families as well. Their passion, energy and dedication to danceability is truly what makes our studio a special place.


Volunteer Melanie with Audrey during the 2014 Performances

From September – May, dancers attend weekly, 45 minute classes where they work on building new skills. From tap, jazz & ballet to creative movement, the teachers spend the first few months of class trying out different dance styles, and then focus on what dancers enjoy the most. Each dancer is paired up with a volunteer who is by their side, helping and encouraging every week.

In May, all dancers have the opportunity to perform in one of our two shows, but it is not a requirement of the program, or a main focus for most of the year. Many come back in the summer for our six week dance program, or have added in our Fitness Frenzy classes to their weekly routine.

Now entering our eighth year, we are excited to welcome back many returning dancers and look forward to learning about all our new dancers.  We have been fortunate to continue to grow, expanding in 2012 to a larger space with two studios and more office/waiting room space. When our dancers and volunteers come back the week of September 15th, they will be able to check out our NEW waiting room! We look forward to continuing to grow and reaching more families in WNY.

Danceability is a way for our dancers, who may have a more difficult time communicating in other ways, to communicate through dance. Dance is one of the oldest forms of non verbal communication, and offers a way to express yourself that other forms of communication do not. We feel fortunate to be a part of fostering that communication.

Join us on Wednesdays on our blog (sign up to follow on the right side of this page), as we share stories about our dancers and volunteers, offer information for our families, recognize community donors, talk about upcoming events and so much more!

We reached out to our community and asked them to describe danceability in one word. This is what they came up with. Do you have another word that embodies what danceability is all about? Share it with us in the comments below!

danceability (1)

– Krystal Sondel
Board of Directors Chairperson

STAY TUNED: Blog Launch – 9/3/14


We want YOU to follow along with us every Wednesday on our blog!

We are excited to announce that we are launching our blog on Wednesday, September 3rd! From there, we will be posting as many Wednesdays as we can (hopefully weekly!)

Want to follow along?  You can receive each week’s blog in your e-mail inbox by clicking on the “follow” button to the right and signing up!

This blog will feature student and volunteer stories, give parents important information, talk about our upcoming events and highlight generous community donors. Is there a topic you would like to see written about on the blog? E-mail Krystal at and we will do our best to include your ideas in a future post!

Stay tuned for our first post!