ShaLeigh Dance Works announces new partnership with the Reality Center

After three years of providing performances for the infamous and loved Reality Ministries Talent Show, we enjoyed offering community members two, week-long residencies of movement classes as a part of Summerfest. The four-day Summer Day Camps were open to anyone involved with Reality during the year and provided people of all abilities memorable, un-rushed, communal experiences. We were excited to offer ShaGA specially designed with diverse abilities and needs in mind.

ShaGa is a somatic movement practice that has developed over the course of 15 years. It is a synthesis of ShaLeigh Comerford’s lifelong movement research that first began with the discovery of Peter Levine’s somatic experiencing and her passion to create healing movement programs for special populations. Her thesis entitled The Power of Identity through Movement created embodiment curricula for individuals with physical disabilities, mental illness, and survivors of trauma. In collaboration with SDW Company dancers, we have designed programming that is accessible and experiential for individuals of all abilities. Using evocative ideas and imagery rooted in creative, somatic movement games, our program provides an improvisational playground that connects the body and the imagination.

Company members Abby Bradetich and Steven James leading class at Summerfest.

After a successful first offering of this new program, ShaLeigh Dance Works and the Reality Center are excited to announce their new partnership that will provide two weekly movement classes for teens and adults with developmental disabilities as a part of their Day Program this year!

ShaLeigh with her long-time student Janie Desmond and Marc Brew, the Artistic Director of Axis Dance Company.

ShaLeigh founded the first Mixed-ability dance program in her home town of Roanoke, VA in collaboration with The Roanoke Ballet Theatre in 2003 and decided to launch it again at The Durham Arts Council in 2004 after identifying the need for accessible dance programs. Her engagement work has continued to offer multiple performance opportunities each year that bring mixed-ability movers to professional stages in the Triangle. This summer, she was an invited speaker for a panel discussion with Axis Dance Company and Arts Access on making dance inclusive and welcoming to people with disabilities.

ABOUT:The Reality Center is a community-based non-profit that offers a variety of opportunities for participants to work, play, learn, and grow together. Our mission is to create opportunities for teens and adults with and without developmental disabilities to experience belonging and kinship. The Reality Center is a place with no margins where everyone is accepted, valued, and celebrated.

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