Dance Your Dreams! is a dance program that provides dance education to children who cannot participate in mainstream dance education due to physical, mental or emotional disabilities.
Click here to watch a video about Dance Your Dreams!
Dance Your Dreams! is a dance class specially designed by Merrimack Hall's dance faculty, in consult with physical therapists, for children with gross motor developmental delays. Classes are offered weekly following the city school's calendar and include numerous performance opportunities for participants. Each student is paired with a trained volunteer who helps the children execute the movements which their challenges prevent them from being able to execute without assistance. Students in this program have multiple diagnoses including Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, cancer, hearing impairment, language delays and learning disabilities. Everything is provided to these students at no cost to them, including dance attire and costuming for performances.
This unique program was designed to provide performing arts education to children who would otherwise not be able to participate due to their personal physical challenges. Classes meet four times per week and follows the Huntsville City School's calendar.
We are currently accepting volunteers to assist in our four weekly classes. No dance experience is necessary. For information about volunteering or to enroll your child, please contact Claire Lindsay, director of dance education.
If you would like to donate to this remarkable program, visit our donor information page. We believe that every child who dreams of dancing should have the chance to, regardless of their limitations. To date, Merrimack Hall has given back more than $47,000 to the community through Dance Your Dreams! alone.
Dance Your Dreams! is presented in honor of Jennifer Fender. Jennifer Fender was a special girl. She lived for 23 years in a battle with cystic fibrosis. Jennifer spent her 23 years in joy-filled optimism and her mind-set was always one of thinking of others – of her family that she loved so dearly and of other children who live with debilitating diseases. Jennifer was frequently hospitalized throughout her life, and the thing she found most distressing about these hospital stays were not her own personal pain and suffering, but the isolation and suffering of other children who were also hospitalized. She dreamed of places where children, regardless of their physical limitations, could run and play, as children should. She dreamed of places where children could break through the restrictions of their physical challenges and dance with joy. She dreamed of a program like Dance Your Dreams!, where those children who had previously been denied the freedom of movement others take for granted could dance their own personal dreams. The motto of Dance Your Dreams! is “I DYD It!” With gratitude and humility, we present this program in honor of Jennifer’s life. Jennifer, we DYD it!
Elianna Stanners, one of Merrimack Hall's Dance Your Dreams! students, is featured in the United Cerebral Palsy newsletter.
See the article
Major funding for this program has been provided by:
The Jane K. Lowe Charitable Foundation
(first- and second-tier funding)
Alabama State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
Wachovia Wells-Fargo Foundation
Publix Super Markets Charities
Bringing Up Down Syndrome
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama
Back to Top