PEOPLE of all ages and abilities will be given the chance to light up the stage, with an inclusive performing arts program announcing plans to open in Port Macquarie.
Perform-Ability was founded by Miranda Daisy in 2010 after she noticed a need for more dance programs for people with special needs or disabilities.
Ms Daisy has been teaching students with additional needs for 11 years, with Perform-Ability now having classes in Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
"Perform-Ability is a performing arts program for absolutely everybody. It's therapy aligned and helps participants work on social skills, speech and movement," Ms Daisy said.
"Classes are very similar to a normal dance class, however we do cater to the needs of the students and our goals are more therapy-based.
"Many dance schools will put additional needs students in the back of the class, but I have always put them in the front. It's important to recognise what they need from the class and make sure we're achieving that."
Perform-Ability's goal is not to separate people with additional needs from a regular dance class, with parents and family members joining in occasionally.
"It's not about separation, it's a program that is tailored to what the students need. That might mean having the teacher go through the steps five times instead of once or having props that help the students during the class."
Ms Daisy said she has had previous requests for Perform-Ability to open a class in Port Macquarie.
"In the past we didn't have enough clients to open up a class in Port Macquarie and we also didn't have a local teacher who had gone through our training until Ashleigh Olsen reached out to us."
Ms Olsen has taught classical ballet for a number of years across six different countries and is currently working at St Columba Anglican School with students who have a range of different needs, both in the classroom and in the performing arts.
She said a passion of hers is to work with children who have special needs.
"I was keen to get involved with Miranda and Perform-Ability in Port Macquarie," she said.
"I have previously worked with elderly people who have cognitive issues and have also worked with young people who have special needs.
"There's something special about seeing and working with students who get so much joy out of dance and dance is for everyone."
Ms Daisy had hoped to have the class up and running for Term 3 this year, however due to lockdowns and restrictions, the start date has been pushed back.
"Many venues that we had looked at leasing for the class in Port Macquarie aren't able to take on any new leases because of the current restrictions," she said.
"We're hoping to start classes in the coming months once we secure a venue. At the latest it will be for Term 1 next year which will be the first week of February.
"NDIS funding is also accepted for our classes and we also accept the NSW Government Creative Kids Vouchers."
To find out more about Perform-Ability or to get in contact for more information about the Port Macquarie class, visit their website.
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