Louise Noel studio Comes to the Rescue of CHD Disability Resources Dance Program

The Center for Human Development’s Disability Resources Program offers classes like rock climbing, sled hockey, martial arts, dance and movement, hand-cyclying, fishing and water skiing to kids and teens with physical or intellectual disabilities.
Reminder Publications submitted photo.

Louise Noel Studio, a local dance and gymnastic studio, is giving back to the community by providing a rent-free space for the Center for Human Development’s (CHD) Disability Resources Program.

The CHD program, called Western Mass Adaptive Dance and Movement, is a dance class offered to kids and teens of all abilities. It encourages individuals with physical or other disabilities to learn and challenge themselves in a “fun and structured” environment while creating an “individual movement artistry,” according to Program Manager Jessica Levine.

“It’s really for anyone who wants to get active and moving,” said Levine.

Open to youth ages five years through high school, the class goes from September to June and incorporates a series of recitals. A rotation of instructors teaches the class once a week on Thursday evenings, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The program – which operates on corporate, grant and individual donations – has been running for more than ten years. It is part of the CHD’s larger mission to provide adaptive recreational programs to kids and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

The lease for the program’s current studio at the PACE School in West Springfield is ending soon, according to Levine. When she reached out to the Louise Noel’s Dance and Gymnastic Studio, located on 87 Norman St., they offered her a space for free.

“I pretty much teared up when they told us that,” she said. “It’s amazing to have people in the community offer us something like that when we know how much it usually costs to rent out a studio like that.”

The program manager said she is also excited for the new space because it offers elements the old gym did not.

“We’re actually really excited because we haven’t had mirrors in a while,” said Levine. “It’s really important for our kiddos to look at ourselves while they’re dancing so they know what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.”

The donation from the studio will allow the program to redirect its fundraising efforts to the program, like scholarships for families to participate rather than rent fees for a studio, Levine said. 
The Louise Noel studio has been providing dance and gymnastic programs since 1969, but it prides itself in supporting disability awareness.

In a press release, Cynthia Noel, daughter of founder Louise Noel, said the studio has been working with kids with disabilities for more than 30 years.

“One of our fortes is always trying to give back to the community,” she said. “Our philosophy is that every child is important and every child is a star. That’s how we want them to feel when they come through our door. We teach not only dance and movement, but life lessons as well. Everyone, no matter their ability or experience, has something to learn and enjoy through dance and movement.”

The CHD dance classes are expected to start back up again in the new studio on January 4. Levine said the lease with Louise Noel does not yet have a termination date.


Article by Jordan Houston. Originally Published on January 5, 2018 at https://www.thereminder.com/localnews/west-springfield/westside-studio-comes-to-the-rescue-of-dance-progr/

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