Jump for Joy

EDE’s Ongoing Outreach Program

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View video from a previous year

Evanston Dance Ensemble’s Jump for Joy program is a recreational opportunity for children with disabilities to experience the benefits of movement, music, self-expression and performance through a special dance course, which culminates in an informal recital.

This program, originally called Twinkle Toes, was initiated by former Ensemble dancer Julia DeNardo in 2007 and was modeled after a successful New York City program. For the participating children, the classes are a “normalizing” activity — a chance to take the kind of class not usually offered to them. Children in the Jump for Joy program receive individual attention, customized to their particular needs, in an upbeat, inclusive atmosphere.

In Jump for Joy, children with disabilities work with volunteer Evanston Dance Ensemble members, who have been given training in teaching children with special needs. Each participating Ensemble dancer is paired with one or two J4J dancers for the course of six weekly, 45-minute sessions. The young dancers gain confidence by exploring and using their bodies to move and express, and they have an opportunity to enjoy a physical activity in a relaxed, recreational setting. Meanwhile, the volunteer teen Ensemble dancers/mentors have an opportunity to expand their knowledge, interest and mindset about dance beyond their usual routine of classes and performances. They gain firsthand experience both in teaching dance and interacting with children with special needs, while also providing a meaningful service to their community.

Click here to download the Jump for Joy registration form.

Jump for Joy dates: April 7, 14, 28/May 6, 12, 19

For more information about the project or to register, call the office at 847.328.6683