NEW HAVEN BALLET SHARED ABILITYFOR DANCERS WITH AND WITHOUT PHYSICAL DISABILITIES
New Haven, CT, January 1, 2024 – New Haven Ballet offers weekly dance classes for dancers with and without physical disabilities beginning on Sunday, February 11. Faculty member Kerry Kincy leads the dancers in creating a performance piece that will be presented at the Shubert Theatre New Haven on May 25 at 1:00 p.m.
"My daughter, who is severely disabled with cerebral palsy and has intellectual disabilities, has participated in the dance program for many years,” states Mark Plummer, whose daughter participates in Shared Ability.
“It is something she looks forward to every year. On so many levels, it makes a difference in her life. She lives in a protected environment, and going to a safe place like dance at New Haven Ballet allows her to get out, meet peers like herself, make friends, move her body and stretch, listen and follow instructions, move and feel music, gain a sense of accomplishment, but most importantly interact with enabled dancers where she and her peers are the focus,” he continues.
Shared Ability performing at the Shubert Theatre New Haven on May 27, 2023,
Photo courtesy of New Haven Ballet and Thomas Giroir Photography © 2024
The dancers work together on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. in New Haven Ballet’s bright studios, moving to music as their families observe or take time to connect with each other. According to Plummer, Shared Ability also has a profound impact on the advanced dancers who facilitate the program because “[f]or the enabled dancers this may well be the only time they will meet, touch, spend time with, and get to know the personalities of someone who is disabled, in a no judgement zone. This interaction will stick with the enabled dancers throughout their lives and see that the disabled are people to be loved, cherished, and work very hard for each step in life or dance movement they make.”
Shared Ability culminates in a year-end performance, “though not always perfect, [it] brings cheers and tears from the audience as the Shared Ability dancers together with their partners show off all that they accomplish and their true beauty. These cheers and tears are beamed right back at the audience by the glow of accomplishment and pride in my daughter's face. When she leaves the stage we will give her a hug, tell her how wonderful she did and she will simply answer ‘no over,” Plummer concludes.
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