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Drexel Dance in Philadelphia Schools

May 16, 2014

The Dance Program will present an open-to-the-public matinee performance of the transformative works created through Drexel’s Youth Performance Exchange on Friday, May 30 at 10:30 am in the Mandell Theater (33rd and Chestnut Streets). A unique outreach program, the Youth Performance Exchange provides Drexel students with the opportunity to engage young people in the art and healing power of dance.

Each year, volunteer Drexel dancers are partnered with wheelchair-bound teenagers at the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy. Meeting once a week, from October to May, they develop choreography for seated and standing dancers and are able to challenge the traditional boundaries of dance and provide HMS students – each having movement and speech disabilities – with a therapeutic outlet that offers self-expression and social connection. The fifth anniversary of the partnership, this year’s collaboration involved Drexel dancers Karly Bais, Sonya Budnovitch, Corina Cleffi, Dawn Mazzola, Sara Nichols, Haley Robinson and Mary Stickney.

The HMS project transports students from the studio and into the field in a way that allows them to develop meaningful relationships in the community, gain practical experience, and share their joy for dance. The class is taught by dance/movement therapist Rachel Federman-Morales, who has worked at HMS for the past ten years. All Drexel Dance majors are also required to take an Introduction to Dance Movement Therapy class as part of their curriculum.

The May 30th matinee will also feature a performance by the Youth Performance Exchange Residency Program, through which small groups of Drexel dancers develop choreography in partnership with elementary and middle school students throughout Philadelphia. This year, the participating schools include Belmont Charter School and Lingelbach Elementary School. Click here to learn more about the Dance Program’s outreach programming.