Unique Kids Integrative Dance
A dance education program for children with special needs.
Unique Kids Integrative Dance Classes returns in September 2022 on Saturdays from 1pm to 1:45pm. For more information on Melina's UKID classes or to register your dancer, email Ms. Krystal directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
In February 2021, Melina's Dance Company announced plans to expand its programming to include a class for dancers with special needs and individual learning differences. “There’s a lack of opportunity for this community to experience the benefits of dance. I set out to learn as much as I could so MDC could offer purposeful dance classes that would benefit the students far outside the studio,” said studio owner, Krystal Klem.
On April 16, 2021, Krystal became a certified instructor through Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. Rhythm Works Integrative Dance is a clinically based hip-hop dance program that utilizes sensory processing, kinesiology, and behavioral analysis as a foundation to build customizable classes for the students. “The purpose of [this] comprehensive program is to provide our certified teachers with the tools and education necessary to effectively make a difference in their student's lives,” said Tricia Gomez, Global Director of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. “Emerging research is showing that movement, music, and rhythm, when combined, light up the brain in ways that create new neuropathways. Dance is a powerful modality that offers an opportunity to build social, emotional, cognitive, and motor skills. Plus it's tons of fun!”
To meet the July 1, 2021 launch date, the Melina's community worked hard preparing to meet new dancers. “I am so excited about the opportunities this program offers our community,” said Krystal. Working alongside Melina's Integrative Dance program administrator Kelly Long and the Melina's National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) members, Krystal spearheads this one-of-a-kind, interactive dance class.
The Melina's Integrative Dance program is provided free of charge to the students including dance classes, attire, recital costumes, and other items deemed necessary for the students to participate. The cost of the program will be funded by business partners, personal partners, and donations throughout the community. Additionally, Melina's Integrative Dance students will have the opportunity to dance with their peers in all MDC performances and will help educate and raise awareness of the importance of dance for everyone. "It's important to me that our students experience all of what dance can offer without worry. Our job is to make dance class accessible to each student that walks through our doors, working with their needs rather than working around their needs," continued Krystal.
Melina's is also pleased to continue its partnership with Darby’s Dancers, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to provide dance classes to children with special needs. Darby’s Dancers was founded by the parents of Darby Jones in Huntsville, Alabama. Darby had Down Syndrome and was an avid dancer before she lost her life to leukemia in 2013. The program was developed to honor Darby’s legacy and allow children with special needs an opportunity to participate in the performing arts through dance education.
Melina's is excited to announce the Integrative Dance program will continue, free of charge to dancers, in September 2022. We are proud to continue offering the Darby’s Dancers component to our Integrative Dance class. Melina's NHSDA members will continue assisting dancers to foster their love of dance alongside Rhythm Works Integrative Dance certified teachers, Krystal Klem and Deja Pender. We would like to thank the Lorton community for the continued outpouring of support for our dancers, as well as our studio family.