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Adaptive Dance is designed to foster a love of dance and creative expression for individuals with special needs. The program began in 2002 as a joint venture between Boston Ballet and Children's Hospital, Boston Department of Physical Therapy. Now in its eleventh year, Adaptive Dance offers classes for children and young-adults with Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders at Boston Ballet's Newton and Boston studios. Classes are typically held on Saturdays and take place during two 10-week sessions (September through November and March through May). All classes are led by qualified Boston Ballet faculty and are supported by experienced physical therapists, and highly trained musicians.
Hear about the Adaptive Dance Experience from Adaptive Dance Student, Faye Jones:
Each faculty member is deeply committed to supporting all participants as they safely explore and develop movement, musicality, and personal/social growth. In addition to providing an important outlet for creativity and self-expression, Adaptive Dance participants have demonstrated the following observable accomplishments:
enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
cooperating with and encouraging others
increased appreciation and knowledge of music and rhythm
distinguishing right and left
attending to and following directions
stopping/starting on cue
improved balance, posture, and alignment
separating upper and lower body movement patterns.
For more information about this program, please email
It gives our kids an opportunity to relate to others like them, and with others involved in a unique arts experience."-Adaptive Dance Parent
Funding for Adaptive Dance has been provided by the Tim White Fund, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts Department of Education, The Krupp Family Foundation, The Yawkey Foundation and Children’s Orthopedic Surgery Foundation.
Students are required to participate in a trial class to ensure proper placement in the program (see the Program Details 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.
2014 Session Dates:
Enrollment for our spring session is closed. If you are interested in joining for our Fall 2014 session please contact
(617.456.6355) or click on the “How to Join” tab to register for our fall 2014 trial class.
Spring 2014 Session Dates
March 15-May 17 (for Saturday classes)
March 17-May 19 (for Monday classes)
Newton Studio: (863 Washington St, Newton MA 02460)
Hand-in-Hand I, (Down syndrome): Monday 2:00-2:45pm
Hand-in-Hand II, (Down syndrome): Saturday 2:15-3:00pm
Primary I, (Down syndrome): Saturday 3:00-3:45pm
Boston Studio: (19 Clarendon St, Boston MA 02116)
Youth I, (Down syndrome): Saturday 9:00-10:00am
Youth II, (Down syndrome): Saturday 8:00-9:00am
Youth A, (Autism Spectrum Disorders): Saturday 8:00-9:00am
Youth B, (Autism Spectrum Disorders): Saturday 9:00-10:00am
Young Adult I, (Down syndrome): Saturday 8:00-9:00am
Young Adult II, (Down syndrome): Saturday 8:00-9:00am
Please contact Portia Abernathy at 617.456.6355 or ECI@bostonballet.org for more information.
A trial class is required for all new students and is held prior to the start of the semester.
The Adaptive Dance staff works very hard to find a class for all interested students. We use the trial placement class (as well as feedback from the participant and parents/caregivers) to inform our decision and ensure all students in a class will work cohesively and enjoy the Adaptive Dance experience. A member of our staff will discuss enrollment options with the parents/caregivers and participant after the trial placement class.
The Fall 2014 trial classes will be held on Saturday August 23rd (Boston and Newton) and Sunday August 24th (North Shore). Please click here to register.
Tuition for the program is $175 plus a $15 registration fee for each semester or $350 for the year plus a $15 registration fee. Financial Aid is available for families that qualify, email ECI@bostonballet.org to request a financial aid application.
Adaptive Dance participants and their families have the opportunity to attend select Boston Ballet performances at The Opera House free of charge.
Students perform and demonstrate their work at our end of year Adaptive Dance 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.
If you are a new student and interested in joining for the Fall 2014 semester, please click here to register for the August trial class or contact Portia Abernathy at 617.456.6355 or ECI@bostonballet.org for more information.
Financial Aid is available for families that qualify.
See Us in Action!
Our incredible Adaptive Dance students will be featured at the Boston Ballet Strand Theater performance, Friday April 11th, 2014 in a special piece by Gino DiMarco, the founder of Adaptive Dance - it will be the first time that all facets of our organization will be onstage together and we are thrilled! This special night features performances by the Boston Ballet company, Boston Ballet II, Boston Ballet School students and students from Boston Ballet's Department of Education and Community Initiatives. Tickets are $5.00 and include entrance to an interactive pre-show event.
We are honored to have been asked to perform at the Federation for Children with Special Needs Gala on May 2nd. A group of Adaptive Dance students from Gino Dimarco and Melodie Cassell's classes will be performing a piece choreographed by Adaptive Dance instructor and Boston Ballet company member, Sarah Wroth. The FCSN is one of our wonderful community partners and we are so pleased to be able to be a part of their 40th Anniversary Gala celebration!
To promote leadership and mentor opportunities, we encourage our young-adult and adult Adaptive Dance participants to volunteer with the program and at Adaptive Dance events. We value our students' perspectives and experiences and are committed to involving them whenever possible. Currently, we are not recruiting non-participant volunteers. Please check back in the future for opportunities to support our program and students.
For safety reason and to respect our students and families, we generally do not allow outside visitors to observe our class sessions. If you are interested in meeting us or seeing what we do please visit us at one of our community events or contact
for more information.