Think you could never be a dancer? Or you’re too old for lessons? Or perhaps you feel your child wouldn’t fit in with a traditional class?
Think again. Dance is actually for everyone, says Angie Baker Cirnigliaro, director of FEELanthropi, a program that caters to unlikely dancers in the Lowcountry. “Here’s why: Very few dancers actually pursue a dance career – in fact, most students of dance experience alternate benefits.”
When she says everyone – Cirnigliaro means everyone, regardless of age or ability.
Over a dozen years ago, Cirnigliaro’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. That set her on a journey to research about the disease. She came across papers that cited the many benefits of dance for Parkinson’s patients. She trained with Dance for PD, and began additional training in dance therapy for special needs students and other unlikely dancers.
“I realized classical dance lesson plans could be tailored to meet the needs of anyone and any student,” she says. “That’s when I decided to use my studies to make a difference in the lives of non-obvious dancers.”
Today, through FEELanthrophi, she trains senior citizens & memory care patients, preschoolers, special needs students, and adults with movement disorders. The program offers dance classes to those who want or need them at locations and times that best suit the dance student.
Here are a few ways dance is beneficial for everyone:
1. Emotional benefits:
Dance allows people to confront their feelings and emotions. It offers room for socialization and opportunities to connect with peers through creative exercise. Dance exercises release endorphins that boost emotional health, and self-awareness leads to a more positive outlook.
2. Physical benefits:
Dance is exercise – and fun exercise at that. Movements can be adapted to a dancer’s body because the focus is on isolation of different body parts and not limited to parts of the body that may have restricted movements. Dance classes can be tailored to any level or ability of movement, and increases fitness, flexibility and mobility.
3. Increased self-esteem:
Every student begins as a recreational dancer. You don’t have to have lofty goals, you could be dancing just to feel good and to learn the basics. So with each new skill or routine you learn, you can feel a sense of accomplishment.
4. Therapeutic benefits:
There’s been an increasing amount of scientific research suggesting that dance can be extremely beneficial for patients of movement disorder, learning disability, memory care, and other natural disadvantages. There are tremendous neurological and physical benefits of practiced, sustained and repetitive movements.
5. Holistic benefits:
There’s a huge social component that comes into play for students taking dance lessons. Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy social activity and learn how to conduct themselves in a disciplined setting. Special needs students enjoy the creative freedom, emotional expression individualized attention. Seniors, even those with movement or memory disorder benefit from physical mobility, social environment and mental stimulation. Dance lessons offer a mind body connection, body awareness and coordination.
Want to know more about how dance can benefit you? Have questions about lessons that can serve your special needs? Contact Angie Baker Cirnigliaro at 843-276-9858 or visit www.feelanthropi.com.
The FEELanthropi program brings specially customized classes to the community and offers lessons throughout the Charleston area for the unlikely dancer: senior citizens, less fortunate students, Parkinson’s patients and caregivers, special needs students and more.