Dance Does it is a newly formed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers unified dance fitness classes for people with special needs. In addition to weekly fun and dance fitness, opportunities are provided to perform and/or compete locally as well as globally to help promote awareness of the abilities of those with Down syndrome and similar special needs. Typical individuals are also encouraged to attend. Currently, LaBlast ® dance fitness is what is being taught which includes learning the dance styles you see on Dancing with the Stars, in a fun, partner-free format. In the future, we anticipate adding other dance formats as well. See Below for Class Information.
The young men and women who participate in the classes are excellent role models. Through their dancing performances, they are changing perceptions about intellectual disability. In fact, they are taking the dis- out of disability. Dance Does It dancers are also inspiring others to stay active and encouraging people to try dance as a means to reap the many social, emotional and physical benefits that come from dance.
The Inaugural Dance Does It Team consists of the first 7 individuals with special needs to express interest in learning LaBlast dance fitness as well as 5 typical support persons who also wanted to participate. This team of 12 will be going to Graz, Austria in March 2017 to compete in the World Dance Contest which is being held as part of the Special Olympics World Winter Games! To find out more about the World Winter Games, click here. For frequently asked questions, click here.
The name of the organization, Dance does it, came to founder, Mary Beth Castell, after reflecting on the number of times she’d been with various friends and acquaintances in a variety of settings the past year… and sharing 3 things. Music, Movement, and Happiness!!!
Whenever music was introduced to the gatherings, something special happened. Always! That something may differ from person to person but she’s heard so often, from so many, that dance does something special. Music to her ears as she discovered just a few short years ago when she began dancing-that Dance illuminates her from inside out!
Mary Beth feels that inner light guides her to many great things throughout her daily experiences and she felt compelled to share it. She also is well aware that the many things dance does for people has no boundaries… Dance does it equally for her friends with special needs just as it does for her typical friends. This is why her classes are unified. Dance and fitness fans, both typical and special needs, dance together and learn from each other. Welcome… a non-profit to benefit many!!!
Please be sure to see our FAQ page for Frequently Asked Questions.
Dance Does it founder, Mary Beth Castell, has teamed up with Titans Gym in Mentor and will be offering a unified LaBlast dance fitness class for individuals with special needs as well as people of all abilities. Titans' owner, Geoff DelGrosso, has generously offered to donate floor time in the group fitness/dance room as both he and Castell are aware there are currently very few opportunities for individuals with special needs to participate in group dance fitness.
CLASS WILL BE HELD EVERY SUNDAY from 3:45-4:45 STARTING JANUARY 15, 2017 at Titans Gym in Mentor. If you would like to join in, please contact us with your information and we will send out reminder and any other pertinent information.Comfortable, work-out clothes and tennis shoes should be worn. Walk ins are always welcome the day of class. For anyone with physical disability, the dance fitness room is located on lower gym level. Parking is available in the back of the plaza on lower level and there IS handicap accessibility. No pre-registration required. Please help us spread the word to the special needs community and share this page.
Castell also offers a LaBlast class in Willoughby on Thursday evenings, 7:10-8:10 at the Senior/ Recreation Center, located at 38032 Brown Avenue. This class is also for people of all abilities, however there is not an elevator and the class is up a flight of stairs. Cost is $8 for drop ins and $5 for individuals with special needs. Classes at the Willoughby location run in 7 week sessions but walk-ins are always welcome. Current session runs through December 15, 2016 and will resume on Thursday, January 12th, 2017. Students can register for this class by calling Willoughby Parks and Recreation: 440-953-4200.
Leading a unified (or inclusive) class where people of all abilities and ages can dance together is a new concept that Castell embraces. As a certified LaBlast instructor, she sees the many benefits of dance for all people and wanted to remove the barriers for those with intellectual disabilities. Castell welcomes all people to come give her class a try and is confident that it is the ABILITIES of all, particularly those with special needs, that will be noticed. It is the very foundation of LaBlast, to be accessible to all people, that makes this work so well. So, if you feel you have two left feet and can't dance, come give LaBlast a try and chances are you will be pleasantly surprised! There is a reason LaBlast is referred to as a "workout in disguise!" for individuals of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.
What does dance do for you?
Contact us and tell us why you enjoy dancing - either at home in your living room, at a wedding or club, or with an organized group. We’d love to hear from you! You can read what our Special Olympics World Dance Team Members & Coaches like about dancing by clicking here for their Bios.
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE with special needs who may be interested in one of our dance fitness classes and perhaps performing as dance team member? New classes are currently being formed.
CONTACT US with any questions or to let us know you are interested in attending a class.
"Mary Beth is the most upbeat, positive, funny gal I know. We love the way she gets everyone moving in class and loving what they are doing. She is very caring and greets everyone as they enter the room, making each person feel that they have purpose. She also does this outside of the classroom with emails and snail mail. You cannot help but feel the caring love and positive feeling at the end of dance class. Mary Beth is so uplifting!
-- Rae Kinnaird, Wickliffe
Former President "Up Side of Downs"
"Dear Mary Beth,
I have to take time to write and express my heartfelt gratitude to you for undertaking the role of commander-in-chief of our Dance Does It team. Never in my wildest imagination could I have envisioned what week-by-week these young adults are accomplishing. I sit in the back of the room watching them and am so inspired by all of you! The genuine enthusiasm you see, the all-out effort they give, the caring they exhibit to each other, the confidence they have built, let alone the laughing and happiness that occurs during practice makes my heart want to burst! I hope this never ends! Thank you so much!"
-- Annette Rufo, Willowick