In 2012, Ballet Pensacola approached Capstone Academy about offering dance classes to their students who are developmentally delayed or at risk of delay. These students often have limited mobility and cognitive abilities. While speech, physical and occupational therapy are a regular part of students’ routines, Ballet Pensacola saw an opportunity to make this therapy even more engaging with the addition of weekly dance classes. Offered free of charge to the students and the school, the classes provide students with the opportunity to enhance their motor skills, build body awareness and improve socialization and communication. Classes are taught by Laine Steinert, Ballet Pensacola Academy children’s division coordinator. Steinert is certified to teach the Leap N’ Learn syllabus, which combines the healthiest practices for teaching children ballet technique while simultaneously encouraging pretend play amongst the youngest students to maintain a positive and fun environment. In 2013, Steinert attended a regional conference addressing the application of Leap N’ Learn principles to children with special needs.
Made possible by Ballet Pensacola's generous donors, these classes have already had a remarkable impact on the families served. Ballet Pensacola is committed to continuing this program, making dance education accessible to those of all abilities.