Free special needs dance classes available this fall

Community Editor

Sara Iverson works as a paraprofessional with special needs students at North Lakes Academy. Teaching young people is what she loves doing. In fact, Iverson enjoys teaching so much, that after the school bell rings, she heads to The Dance Factory to teach for a few more hours. Iverson has worked at The Dance Factory for eight years, teaching recreational and competitive dance classes. This fall, though, she’s especially looking forward to returning to teach one of the studio’s newest programs, Darby’s Dancers.

Darby’s Dancers, which is currently offered at 24 locations in the United States, first launched at The Dance Factory in the summer of 2016. It is a tuition-free, once-a-week dance program offered to special needs youth who want dance education. The program covers a variety of dance styles and topics, andprovides one coach to every student enrolled. Teachers and coaches work to understand and manage sensory issues, as well as adapt programming to the physical and mental abilities of each student. Tailoring the class to the needs of the students is central to the success of this program both nationally and locally.

Other than managing for each student’s special needs, this course is the same as any other recreational dance course at the studio. Each class begins with a warmup, a focus on technique, and the practice of movement across the floor. The weekly 45-minute session also includes learning dances for The Dance Factory’s annual recitals—one in December, and another in May.
“Parents often enjoy waiting at the studio during class,” Iverson said in a press release. “They like to be nearby for support, but they aren’t directly in the classroom. They are able to relax, while we work on exploring dance.”

For more information about The Dance Factory’s classes, to arrange a studio tour or visit, or to learn about enrollment in this fall’s Darby’s Dancers class, call 651-464-6394 or email [email protected] The Dance Factory’s fall offering of Darby’s Dancers will be on Tuesdays from 4:15 to 5 p.m. beginning Sept. 11. More information can be found at