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Students with Disabilities and Professional Dancers Will Share the Stage During “Superheroes” in New Jersey

Students with Disabilities and Professional Dancers Will Share the Stage During “Superheroes” in New Jersey

Resident students from the A. Harry Moore School will join forces with Nai-Ni Chen dance company to present a show themed around the superheroes in our everyday lives.

This May, students from the A. Harry Moore School will dance with professional Nai-Ni Chen company dancers in “Superheroes,” a performance inspired by the kids themselves. Nai-Ni has pioneered an innovative program for students with disabilities–each project created for the kids is progressively more challenging, which encourages students to explore their unique abilities and improve social, cognitive, and physical abilities through music and dance. Adaptive physical education teacher Lori Berig says the results of the programming have “shattered every benchmark we could set for them.”

“Superheroes” was inspired by the students’ special abilities. Company dancers paired with each individual child to create choreography tailored to their skills. While the dance moves themselves were individualistic, the performance is designed to make the kids feel same as any dance troupe. Steven Goldberg, the principal of the A. Harry Moore school, said that that is what kids are looking for.

"Whenever we ask our students how they would like to be treated they inevitably say, just like everyone else,” Goldberg says. “To watch our students be able to take the stage and dance just like everyone else is truly heartwarming and uplifting."

The Nai-Ni Chen dance company is one of the widest-touring Asian dance companies in the country. This is the company’s fourth year in residence at New Jersey City University, and it has partnered with the A. Harry Moore School for years–in 2018, the collaboration won the New Jersey Access Network's Innovator Award. “Superheroes” will be free and open to the public. The students and dancers will perform on May 2 in Jersey City.

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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