At Dance of the Phoenix, we teach traditional dance technique with adaptations. Additionally,
we seek to explore new and innovative forms of movement and technique, appropriate to the abilities of those with movement
Some examples of adaptations:
Tap: Students in wheelchairs who have the ability to use their feet
may remove their foot supports, and tap from a seated position. Students who use crutches or have poor balance control
may hold on to the barre while learning steps. Students without the use of their feet may place taps on their hands,
and mimic the sound and style of tapping through the use of their hands. It is recommended that these students have
a sturdy lap tray or board they can tap onto.
Ballet: Students in wheelchairs may use port de bras (arm and head
positioning), and movement/position of the upper body to convey the grace and beauty of traditional ballet technique.
Students may pirouette (turn) by quickly turning their wheelchair in a circle, and may execute the gliding moves of ballet
by quickly and smoothly moving their wheelchair across space. Students who have leg/foot control may execute forward
kicks, point their toes, and execute some leg/foot techniques from their wheelchair. Students using walkers, crutches,
or who tire easily may use the support of the barre in executing most of their movement.
Jazz/ Hip hop: Turns may be done in a wheelchair, and kicks may be
done from a seated position. Kicks may be practiced at the barre, for students who have difficulty with balance.
Jazz is less focused on intricate foot movements, and includes large, "jazzy," movement patterns, making it ideal for students
who have difficulty with fine motor control.
Movement of the upper body and torso is a prominent part of hip hop, making this form
of dance fairly easy to adapt for students in wheelchairs. Movements through space are generally performed in defined
patterns that can be mimicked with wheelchair movement.
Flag / baton: Flag movement is ideal for students who are able to stand,
but have limited ability to move their lower body. Baton can be done from a seated position in a wheelchair.
General: Any student who fatigues or has physical discomfort may take
a break at any time. Students may elect to quietly watch class, and resume participation when they feel able.
Students may change or elect not to execute any step that feels uncomfortable or exceeds their
ability level. Injury prevention is a goal, and students are instructed to trust their own bodies. The instructor
will assist students in altering or adapting any step they are not comfortable with or able to do.
Instructions will be given slowly, clearly and repeated as many times as necessary, for
students with cognitive or learning difficulties. Rhythms and timing may be slowed down or altered, as necessary, until
the student learns the steps.
Students with cognitive or developmental disabilities may enroll in courses designed for a
younger age group, with the instructor's permission.
Students in wheelchairs may wish to wear gloves to protect their hands, as they may be propelling
their wheelchairs in non-traditional ways.