Performing Artists of Life Styles (PALS Program)
Performing Arts programs provide our students with the opportunity to explore creative expression through physical, vocal, and emotional means. For individuals with disabilities, not only does participation in creative arts such as Dance and Drama provide a healthy outlet for emotional expression, it promotes well-being and strong self-esteem while giving the individual not only a strong sense of self, but a place in the community where he or she can discover a feeling of belonging, importance, and social relevance.
Our Dance and Drama programs provide a healthy and safe environment to allow for the exploration and expression of emotions, resulting in lower stress levels, the ability to communicate more effectively, and opportunities to develop higher levels of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Cooperation, coordination, and communication are keys to success in any aspect of life, and through the physical and emotional expressions that Dance, Acting, and Creative Dramatics develop and foster, each individual benefits not only on a personal level, with increased self-worth, but on a global scale, where individual expression is nurtured and fine-tuned and a sense of belonging creates bonds that develop into meaningful relationships and lifelong friendships.
The PALS program was recently introduced in November 2011. With an initial enrollment of seven students, the PALS have produced and performed in numerous dance and dramatic presentations, providing entertainment for Christmas parties, Family Meet and Greet events, and various other gatherings within the Life Styles, Inc. community. Over the span of six months, the PALS program has expanded tremendously, with over 30 performing artists currently participating in the program, and the numbers increasing daily. Our performing artists are incredible examples of tenacity, commitment, and determination, and we are excited to watch this program grow!
Dance: Students learn the basics of dance form through a variety of styles including ballet, ballroom, social dance, and modern. Each individual is encouraged to explore his or her own emotions through the expression of movement to music. Students receive specialized training geared toward the specific needs of each individual in order to promote strength, posture, balance, and increased range of motion. Rehearsal and repetition increase muscle memory and promote sensory and motor development. Students benefit beyond the classroom environment with expanding muscle control and fine and gross motor skills which are beneficial and critical when working in the community and living independently on one’s own. Proper posture and increased range of motion aid in pain management and overall health benefits to the adult whose body is changing with age. Exercise for optimal health and wellness is achieved through a fun and controlled environment.
Acting and Creative Dramatics: The textbook definition of acting is “overcoming obstacles by changing strategies in order to gain an objective”, which is exactly what students learn to do. Every obstacle is seen as an opportunity to explore the physical environment through vocal, physical, and emotional expression within a setting that provides safety, encouragement, and freedom for individual exploration and growth. Students are trained in overcoming stage fright, relaxation and proper breathing techniques, proper posture, and communication while improving verbal and written expression and developing self-esteem and independent thinking. Focus is placed on creative and critical thinking, allowing each individual to work at his or her own pace with the goal of not only developing a healthy internal dialogue, but developing ways of communication that not only benefit the student in a performance setting, but expand beyond the classroom, promoting life skills that prove beneficial in developing more meaningful relationships in both work places and the outside community.