Studio Jacked in Nanuet is Offering a Hip Hop Program for Students with Special Needs

Studio Jacked in Nanuet is Offering a Hip Hop Program for Students with Special Needs

The class aims to help kids identify and express their emotions in a judgment-free zone.

Owner of Studio Jacked Dance Company in Nanuet Jackie Galgano created a hip hop dance program for students with special needs based on her experiences with her own 3-year-old son, who has autism. His love of dancing–and the lack of activities available for kids with special needs in Rockland County–led to the creation of this program in Nanuet. The hip hop classes, which are held on Friday evenings beginning this month, aim to allow kids with special needs to express themselves while introducing adults to a community of like-minded parents.

Through dance, Galgano’s students will develop social skills, identify emotions, master taking turns and following directions, and gain bodily awareness, according to Galgano. Identifying emotions can be tricky for kids with autism, so Galgano hopes to emphasize that skill in classes for older students. They will be asked to identify how a song makes them feel, then dance in a way that mirrors those feelings, to connect their bodies to their emotions too. Energy buildup can also be a challenge for kids with autism, so these classes will ensure that all energy is expended in a healthy way. Right now, the first hip hop session will run from 6-7pm on Fridays, and the second session from 7-8pm.

“When I think about my own son, what kind of program I would want for him, it’s not so about the dancing as much as it is about bringing him to a place where there’s likeminded people and likeminded kids, and they’re just getting all of their energy out,” Galgano says. “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. No child is the same. And I jut am hoping to create a space where we can all come together–no judgment.”

Studio Jacked also offers jazz, ballet, lyrical, and contemporary classes, as well as mommy-and-me classes, adult dance classes, and adult fitness classes.

For more information about Studio Jacked, visit its website. 

Image courtesy Studio Jacked.