New dance class at Schalks Crossing Day Center gets participants moving

Individuals who attend Eden Autism’s Schalks Crossing Day Center are getting some exercise and learning some fun moves during a new dance class.

Disco, pop tunes, and songs from the ‘70s can be heard playing at the day center on Thursday mornings, all while the individuals Eden supports happily dance, jump, and clap along to the beat.

The classes are part of a pilot program held in partnership with Rutgers University Integrated Dance Collaboratory. The pilot program allows Natalie Schultz-Kahwaty, Assistant Director IDC/Dance Instruction Specialist, to assess what works best with Eden’s older population.

Natalie has been engaging individuals one on one during the first few classes. She quickly realized classic rock songs are a crowd favorite, so she frequently plays songs from the ‘70s to get people up and moving.

She encourages participants to move their bodies to the music to the best of their ability, including moving side to side and clapping their hands. She also uses shaker sticks to help them focus on the rhythm of the music.

Most importantly, the classes offer individuals a chance to dance with their peers to some of their favorite songs.