By Matt Davies/Cheshire Transition Program
Amanda Matises, a current member of the QU Dance Company, plus students Jackie Inzalaco, Aly Lang, and Lindsay Peckham started a dance class for the QU/Cheshire Transition students in January of last year. Due to its overwhelming success, the Dance Company members are continuing it the class for this year. The transition students are between the ages of 18-21 with disabilities who are learning a variety of life/work skills preparing them for the real world on QU’s North Haven Campus. Health and fitness is a big part of their program, so the Dance class is a perfect fit.
According to Matises, her previous experience teaching classes called dance-ability and teaching kids with various disabilities inspired her to reach out to the transition program here at Quinnipiac-North Haven and offer their students an opportunity to learn dance.
“The classes gives the students a chance to have fun, exercise, dance it out, and have a good time for 30 minutes, and just forget everything else,” stated Matises. “It opened my eyes to how truly amazing you guys are,” Matises said referring to the students.
Matises, Inzalaco, Lang, and Peckham’s proudest moment regarding the program was when the first set of students performed at the Dance Company’s recital at the Buckman Theater, and the crowd gave them a standing ovation that moved the girls to tears.
Some of the benefits of the program are building confidence, working as a team, making positive relationships, and feeling a sense of accomplishment. This will be a lasting impact on the transition students’ lives. They teach us the proper way to warm up with different stretches and exercises. After warm up, we do dance drills like going across the floor. After we do the dance drills, we do fun dances like the whip being one of my favorites. They do an amazing job of breaking down and
changing the dance routine so all the students can participate. For example the dancers tell me to go in the middle and high five everybody else during the line dancing. It makes me happy to be part of the dance line.
The class takes place every Wednesday from 12:00 to 12:30 in the movement lab at North Haven campus.
We are all looking forward with great enthusiasm to performing with the dancers in the Dance Company’s spring recital.
It just so happens that not only am I the author of this article but I am also a transition student participating in the dance class. On behalf of all the transition students, I would like to thank Matises, Lang, Inzalaco, and Peckham for their time and efforts giving us this wonderful opportunity. We love you all and consider you our good friends and dance partners. Go “dancesQUad”!