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    THE INNER WEST TAKES A STEP AHEAD WITH DANCE

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    One dance school in Braybrook is changing the exclusivity of dance by making classes accessible to children with individual learning differences and other special needs.

    Dance Habit in Braybrook was founded on the basis that it is a community first and a dance school second, so it is not surprising to learn that they have taken steps to deliver on their promise of being inclusive of everyone in our community.

    Director Megan Jessop says “My team and I have tried really hard to make Dance Habit friendly and accessible, but over the years it became evident that it is one thing to say you are inclusive and another thing entirely to put your money where your mouth is by investing in the professional development required to truly understand and accommodate the different and ever-changing needs of our community”.

    In late 2016, Megan attended Come Together – a dance teachers’ networking and professional development convention hosted by the Australian Teachers of Dance. It was there that she first heard about Rhythm Works Integrative Dance via its US-based founder Tricia Gomez. Earlier this year, Megan travelled to Los Angeles and connected again with Tricia whom she describes as “grounded and absolutely driven for the greater good”.

    The Rhythm Works Program focuses on five key “developmental domains,” including communication, motor development, self-help, social/emotional development and cognitive development. Classes are based on 150 hip-hop dance steps divided into 31 “skill set categories” designed to help students achieve developmental goals.

    Dance Habit teacher, Tamsin McLinden is the first in Australia to achieve Rhythm Works certification. Her gentle, nurturing nature and ability to connect with students make her the perfect fit to lead implementation of the program, which has a big focus on integration.

    Rhythm Works at Dance Habit is already rapidly growing with a preschool class and lots of private lessons underway.

    “For us, dance is about how you feel, not what you look like. It’s therapeutical in the sense that it provides a safe space to feel and express emotion, particularly when the words are hard to come by. Dance is our vehicle for developing independent, confident and happy human beings and the physical and emotional health of our students is my number one priority. I am beyond excited to broaden our reach in the community through Rhythm Works.”

    To enquire about Rhythm Works, contact Dance Habit directly on 9078 6525 or info@dancehabit.com.au

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