Jump for Joy
Evanston Dance Ensemble’s Jump for Joy is an adaptive dance program for young people with disabilities designed to provide engaging and supportive movement instruction. Participants experience the benefits of music, creative expression, social interaction, and performance in a relaxed dance studio setting.
This program, originally called Twinkle Toes, was initiated by former Ensemble dancer Julia DeNardo in 2006 to offer children with physical and developmental disabilities the unique opportunity to participate in a dance class. Since then, Jenny Higgins, an experienced dance instructor and special educator, has coordinated Jump for Joy as an outreach program of the Evanston Dance Ensemble. The classes have evolved to serve almost 50 students per session, ages 5-20, with a broad range of disabilities. The Jump for Joy program runs on Sunday afternoons in April and May every year, and culminates with an informal dance showcase in Studio5.
Jump for Joy classes are taught and mentored by at least 25 trained members of the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Each J4J participant is paired with one or two mentors. The dancers develop a relationship with their mentors, exploring self-expression and different qualities of movement and music together. The instruction is supportive and accommodating for young dancers of all abilities and learning styles. In turn, the volunteer teen Ensemble dancers/mentors have the opportunity to share their passion for dance, foster the love of movement, and learn from their enriching relationships with the J4J students.
Sunday Classes run from March 29 - May 17, 2020. Class times will be 1:30-2:15 pm and 2:15-3 pm. Classes for kids 5 and older will be organized by age and individual needs. Jump for Joy is free, but a donation to the Evanston Dance Ensemble is appreciated.