NEWBERRY — The Newberry County Disabilities and Special Needs Board PRIDE Dancers are getting ready to begin their third year of partnership with Griffin School of Dance to prepare for their dance recital to be held in 2018.
“We started in 2015 and we did it in conjunction with Griffin School of Dance. It was kind of a combined effort at that time between them and one of our staff members. Our first class we had about 10 participants that attended weekly classes Sept.-April and they did their first recital in May of 2016,” said Cindy Farr, quality enhancement director.
This year, there are around 27 people interested in participating with the PRIDE Dancers, with classes beginning Sept. 11 and being held on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“It’s grown and it’s something that we hope to continue to do every year. It kind of accomplishes things from my list. In other words, it gets folks involved in the community, it is community recognition and awareness for our agency and it’s a great community outlet for folks,” said Farr. “In general, I just think it helps build a lot of self esteem and pride in what you’re doing and it gives the folks a form of self expression. It just checks off a lot of the things that are important to me for our folks.”
Farr added that the staff at Griffin School of Dance has been wonderful in planning and organizing the classes.
“We have a staff member, Audrea Reel, who has been dedicated for the past three years providing transportation to the classes and she’s been a great asset for the classes as far as providing support and transportation that we need,” said Farr.
With 27 people interested in being part of the PRIDE Dancers, Farr said that with that many people interested, the first two weeks will be introducing the participants to the classes.
“If someone decides this is something they don’t want to do, then they have that option. We’ve told them that what we’ll be looking for is participation and teamwork. We may not end up with 27 as we go along but we want to give everybody the opportunity to participate if they want to,” said Farr. “Mallory Pitts is one of the instructors and this is her third year working with the folks. She choreographs the dance and the music they will be using and works with them every week to get to the recital. It’s fun and rewarding for me to see how they progress when they start in September to the end of the year.”
If anyone is interested in participating in being a PRIDE Dancer, Farr suggests they contact Griffin School of Dance, adding the classes are limited to people with special needs, putting an emphasis on community inclusion.
“It doesn’t have to be a class of just disability folks. We would love to have non-disabled folks to join in if they wanted to,” said Farr. “For folks who have participated in the past, I think this gives them a social outlet and I think it’s something they are extremely proud of and they like to come back after the recital and perform for our Board of Directors and the folks at the PRIDE Business Center because I think they like that recognition from their peers.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.