Tracey Woywod

Dancing From The Heart

About four years ago, I began to feel like dancing again. I belong to a church where dance is very much a part of the worship service. I began dancing with other people who liked to worship through dance. It was during this time that some families approached me to ask me if I might like to teach their children to dance. I had been trained in classical ballet as a young person but did not think I would still be able to teach the art of dance.

I volunteered to give teaching a try. Soon I found that I was enjoying it immensely. It was then that I decided to open a dance school called DANCE ON IT.

Shortly after the school opened, I began receiving random inquiries from families who had children and young adults with special needs. They were telling me there was a need for dance classes for their kids. I really had no experience in this new area and felt extremely under qualified. I took a step of faith and decided to offer two classes, one for children called Meet the Beat and one for teens and young adults called Moving and Grooving. I am so glad I did. These classes have now become my favorite to teach. When the students come into the classroom, they respond instantly. Their level of joy increases and their stress decreases automatically. I also teach a young adult group called Inclusion Works. Participants in this class are recent high school graduates. Each class functions slightly differently from year to year as the students grow or as new students join. My goal for each student remains the same: that they leave class feeling successful. Some of the students are in a wheel chair, and there are students who are able to learn and repeat choreography better than I can. I believe that each person can find their own individual level of success, and it is my hope to find the key that unlocks the creativity in each.

My whole world has expanded and been enriched through working with these students. They are over comers in every sense of the word and have become my heroes in so many ways. I have developed a great compassion and admiration for parents and care givers who have devoted their lives to their children’s safety and well-being. I love watching them sit back and enjoy their kids dancing and having so much fun together. I have a deep desire to learn all I can about the issues that these very brave individuals have to face, in order to better serve them.

What constantly amazes me is that once you develop a relationship with individuals with a disability, you no longer think about their disability. You begin to see their abilities. My experience has enriched me so deeply and I would encourage others to make space in their lives for this too.