Grand Rapids Ballet School Announces Expanded Explorer Dance Program for Children with Disabilities
Explorer Dance Program now offers availability to children living in GR and Holland
September 9, 2021 — Grand Rapids Ballet School (GRBS), the educational branch of Grand Rapids Ballet, today announced an expansion of its Explorer Dance Program, a 45-minute beginning-level ballet class that emphasizes balance, coordination, and creative expression for children with disabilities.
GRBS is continuing its Explorer Dance Program at the Meijer Royce Center for Dance in downtown Grand Rapids and is announcing a return to the Holland community with classes being held at Hope College’s DeVos Fieldhouse after a 16-month hiatus due to the pandemic. Explorer Dance is part of Grand Rapids Ballet School’s Adaptive Dance Program, which boasts the therapeutic power of dance for participants of all abilities to experience the joy of dance.
“I feel fortunate that we can once again offer the Explorer Dance classes,” said GRBS School Director Attila Mosolygo. “There’s a need for this type of class and we take great pride in being able to fill that need because these kids benefit from it.”
Among the many benefits of participation in Explorer Dance, students enjoy interacting with the other children in their class and building a sense of community and belonging. Mosolygo explained that in addition to the camaraderie students feel, ballet also offers many therapeutic qualities. “It’s great for people to recognize that dance can be part of everyday life. It’s very calming,” he said. “Our students feel great coming out of the class.”
Explorer Dance students in Grand Rapids look forward to returning to in-person classes for the fall semester after following a year of virtual learning the previous school year. The Holland Explorer Dance classes are re-launching after more than a one-year break, aiming to offer the opportunity to more children who can reap its benefits.
“There has always been overwhelming positivity in the Explorer Dance class,” said Taryn Ortega-Furgeson, GRBS faculty member. “All they wanted was to be back in person and see each other again.”
The Explorer Dance classes at both locations offer students the chance to interact one-on-one with the teacher in a hands-on environment that provides an opportunity to focus on learning. Students are able to discover their abilities and strengths while working to improve balance and hand-eye coordination.
“The students love being able to move and dance together,” said Ortega-Furgeson. “They build each other up and they help each other by encouraging one another.”
The fall semester begins this week and runs through January 22, 2022. Enrollment is available online with classes taking place Monday evenings in Grand Rapids and Tuesday evenings in Holland.
Author: Jessica Meldrum