Young Dance teaches dancers of all abilities

Credit: Young Dance performs May 1-2 at the Lab Theater. Submitted image

Dancers with disabilities are welcome at Young Dance, a modern dance studio with classes at Barton School and the Center for Performing Arts.

The studio first hit on the idea to welcome dancers of all abilities about five years ago, when a girl in a wheelchair tagged along to drop off her brother at class. She loved moving, and her parents asked if any classes in the metro catered to her needs.

“We looked, and there wasn’t anything we could find in the Twin Cities,” said Artistic Director Gretchen Pick. “The mission of Young Dance is to transform young lives through movement. We thought there was no reason why that wouldn’t also apply to someone who lives with a disability.”

Two classes are specialized for dancers with disabilities, and every class is open to all abilities. Students with disabilities even lead the class on occasion, with able-bodied dancers following their leads and interpreting their movements.

At Young Dance, the work of student choreographers takes center stage at shows alongside professionals.

Guest artists this year include Joe Chvala of the Flying Foot Forum, HIJACK collaborators Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder, Stuart Pimsler and Kate Lynch.

The upcoming show “Stories” explores the relationship between narrative and dance. Shows run May 1-2 at the Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St.