CDS News

Students raise money for Adaptive Dance Program

FAIRFIELD — An ambitious group of Connecticut Dance School students held a fundraiser to benefit the school’s Dance 4 All Abilities Program. The adaptive dance program is designed for children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome and other physical disabilities ages 5 and up. Dance 4 All Abilities began in 2018 and was co-founded by Patrice Logan and Debra MacDonald. Both are ballet instructors at Connecticut Dance School. “We combine creative movement principles with modified ballet technique. This allows our students to engage, explore and express themselves in dance,” said Ms. Logan.

CT Dancers who raised funds for Dance 4 Abilities, standing from left, Natalie Compare, Sarah Hamilton, Katherine Tharrington, Isabel Brenner, Mary Harvey, Caitlin Agee, Kelly White, Lizzy Van Arnam. Seated from left, Maelen Wilk, Amelia Vallillo, Ellie Mannello, Audrey Compare.

Mary Harvey, 14, who has studied ballet at Connecticut Dance School for over 10 years, spearheaded the fundraiser. “Dance is my sport, my hobby and it’s my way to express myself,” explained Mary. She and other Connecticut Dance School students have helped provide a welcoming, encouraging environment by attending adaptive classes since the program began. “I love helping and being a dance buddy. I’m able to see these kids lives change. They’re figuring out how to express themselves through dance and watching that happen is really exciting.” Mary and her classmates sold Pura Vida bracelets via social media and in two months were able to raise $3,800.