The twice-yearly program invites a diverse group of kids with all ability levels to dance their hearts out and achieve their best through teamwork, creativity, empathy, and discovery.

By Maressa Brown
November 14, 2019
Courtesy National Dance Institute

Being able to stand in front of an audience and express themselves through artistic performance is a wish that many children of all backgrounds and abilities have. And it's a wish that an arts education, nonprofit program based in New York City has fulfilled for over 60,000 kids, including those with a wide range of disabilities, globally per year. The National Dance Institute (NDI) runs a unique, inclusive dance program called DREAM (Dancers Realize Excellence through Arts and Movement), which provides children with disabilities the opportunity to perform.

DREAM invites a diverse group of kids with all ability levels to dance their hearts out. Their goal: maximize participation and challenge every dancer to achieve their best through teamwork, creativity, empathy, and discovery.

The program was co-created by NDI Associate Artistic Director Kay Gayner and Pediatric Physical Therapist Agnes McConlogue Ferro and is held twice per year, in February and August, at the NDI Center in Harlem. The program serves dancers ages 8 to 14 of all ability levels and is offered free-of-charge to all participants.

DREAM participants of all ability levels are proving that artistic expression through movement is not only possible but incredibly rewarding for all kids. It's a message we can only hope is heard and spread far and wide.

NDI's next DREAM program will be held February 19–21, 2020. Head to NationalDance.org for more information.

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