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The Adaptive Dance Program, developed in 2002, is a joint venture between Boston Ballet and the Department of Physical Therapy, Children's Hospital, Boston. The program reflects an innovative collaboration between the staff from both facilities and is designed to foster a love of dance and creative expression in children with special needs. The primary goal of Adaptive Dance classes is for the children to experience the pure joy of dance and music. Additionally, program evaluation suggests that it has many other important benefits to the children who participate, including improvements in their coordination, overall fitness, balance, focus, listening, self-esteem, self-expression, rhythm and musicality.
"It gives our kids an opportunity to relate to others like them, and with others involved in a unique arts experience.”-Adaptive Dance Parent
For more information about this program, please email
Hear about the Adaptive Dance Experience from Adaptive Dance Student, Faye Jones:
Funding for Adaptive Dance has been provided by the Tim White Fund, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts Department of Education, The Krupp FamilyFoundation, The Yawkey Foundation and Children’s Orthopedic Surgery Foundation.
In the Spotlight:
Dance a Joy for Kids with Down SyndromeBoston Globe Thursday, June 4, 2009Making a Difference: Tiny Dancers, Big HeartsNBC Nightly News with Brian WilliamsThursday, April 9, 2009A Chance to DancePeople MagazineMarch 16, 2009
Spring 2013 classes are underway and registration is currently closed - if you are interested in particpating in Adaptive Dance we hope that you can join us for a trial classes in the Fall!
The Fall Semester of Adaptive Dance will begin on September 7th and end November 16th.
Trial classes will take place on August 17th.
Contact ECI@bostonballet.org in order to be placed on our contact list to receive more information as the date approaches.
Adaptive Dance is designed to foster a love of dance and creative inspiration in children with special needs. Now in its tenth year, Adaptive Dance offers classes for children with Down syndrome at Boston Ballet’s Newton and Boston studios and for children with autism in the Boston studios. Classes comprising of 10-week sessions are held in the Fall and Spring semesters(September through November and March through May) and are typically held on Saturdays. All classes are led by qualified Boston Ballet faculty and are supported by physical therapists from the Children's Hospital Boston.
Each faculty member is deeply dedicated to helping all children develop self-confidence and self-esteem. With the assistance of highly trained pianists and percussionists, the children work to develop a sense of musicality and rhythm. In addition to providing an important outlet for creative expression, Adaptive Dance students have demonstrated improvement in cognition and social development.
Key outcomes of Adaptive Dance include:
enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
increased pride in accomplishment
cooperating with/encouraging others
ability to appreciate music
distinguishing right and left
attending to/following directions
increased ability to focus
stopping/starting on cue
improved balance/posture/ alignment
separating upper/lower body movement patterns.
Adaptive Dance participants have the opportunity to attend select Boston Ballet performances free of charge, including a dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker and Boston Ballet’s spring and fall productions at The Opera House.
Students have a chance to perform and demonstrate their work at the end of the year Adaptive Showcase (held each May) at Boston Ballet. Additional performance opportunities may be available during the course of the semester; past performances have included the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress’ Buddy Walk and MDSC Conference.
A trial class is required for all new students and is held one month prior to the start of the semester.
As Boston Ballet staff, we work very hard to find a place for each interested student and we use the trial placement class to help inform our decision. We need to ensure that all students in a class can work together harmoniously with the instructor and that the student enjoys the Adaptive Dance experience. A member of our staff will discuss enrollment options with the parents and student after the conclusion of the trial placement class.
The Spring 2013 trial class will be held on Saturday, February 16
Tuition for the program is $175 plus a $15 registration fee for the semester or $350 for the year plus a $15 registration fee. We also have financial aid available upon request. Email ECI@bostonballet.org to request a financial aid application.
Students are required to participate in a screening class to ensure proper placement in the program (see the Registration page for more details). The age designation identified below is to be used as a guide only and does not necessarily mean student placement in the indicated class.
Spring 2013 Session Dates: March 9 to May 18 2013
Newton Studio: (863 Washington St, Newton MA 02460
Level 1 (Down syndrome): Monday 9:00-10:00am (Hand-in-Hand, 2-4 years)
Level 2* (Down syndrome): Saturday 2:30-3:30pm (Primary, 4-6 years)
Boston Studio: (19 Clarendon St, Boston MA 02116)
Level 3 (Down syndrome): Saturday 9:00-10:00am (Youth)
Level 4 (Down syndrome): Saturday 8:00-9:00am (Early teens)
Level 5 (Down syndrome): Saturday 8:00-9:00am (Teens)
Level 6* (Down syndrome): Saturday 8:00-9:00am (Young adult)
Autism (Mixed Level): Saturday 9:00-10:00am (Youth)
* These classes are currently at capacity, please email email@example.com or call Sarah McKitterick at 617-456-6208 for more information or to request placement on a waitlist.