Press Release: Southern California Ballet inaugurates inclusive adaptive dance program for adults with special needs


For Immediate Release, July 26, 2019

Southern California Ballet inaugurates inclusive adaptive dance program for adults with special needs

In November 2018, Southern California Ballet was awarded a grant of $8,000 from The Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation, an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, to fund the creation of a brand new, six-week inclusive dance workshop program designed specifically for adults with special needs. Participation in the program is free.

The need for these workshops was originally identified by Martha Leebolt, SCB’s Artistic Director, whose personal connection to the special needs community began while growing up in her hometown of Rancho Bernardo. As a teenager, Leebolt hosted her own dance classes for children with special needs in the studios of SCB where she herself trained. Now, having returned to the community as SCB’s Artistic Director, Leebolt is excited to formalize a program that makes dance accessible.

“Having grown up with one of my closest friends being part of the special needs community, this is an extremely important program that is very close to my heart. Growing up with her was a formative part of my life, and seeing her transition into adulthood helped me understand the difficulties of this stage of both her and many others’ lives. This led us to create this program which I hope will flourish to become something that can enrich everyone’s lives who want to be involved”. Martha Leebolt, SCB Artistic Director

Multiple studies have shown that adults with developmental disabilities have significantly higher preventable mortality rates than non-disabled adults. The benefits of adaptive dance programs include improvements to coordination/control, body awareness, balance, and motor skills. Dance has even been proven to increase happiness and relieve stress, while serving as one of the best and most effective forms of physical exercise.

The goal of the program is to not only enrich the lives of the participants with special needs, but also to integrate the community with non-disabled participants, bringing more awareness to the issues this often overlooked group faces and reducing common stigmas.

Throughout the series of workshops, participants will spend time in the studio with their caregivers, other dancers, and SCB staff, where they can express themselves through movement, be creative, and flex their imaginative and physical muscles. They will learn different styles of dance, starting with modern, moving onto ballet, then Broadway and jazz. The workshops will be accessible to all abilities, allowing anyone to experience dance and its benefits. The program will conclude in a community performance.

Participation in the program will be free to all participants, including adults with special needs ages 18-55 as well as non-disabled persons who are interested in participating in this inclusive program. Participants with special needs who are also residents of Rancho Bernardo will receive free transportation to and from the studios.

Date: Every Wednesday afternoon for 6 weeks starting October 9, 2019 until November 13, 2019.

Location: Studios of Southern California Ballet, 12285 World Trade Drive, Suite L, San Diego, CA 92128

Southern California Ballet’s mission is to provide enrichment, education, outreach, and public entertainment for the community through the art of dance, and to provide performance and artistic opportunities for dedicated young dancers.