Sensory Friendly Programs
Education and community building is at the core of the Parsons Dance philosophy. Thus, outreach is an integral component of the company’s work, connecting with community members through workshops, classes and residencies. Building on this mission, Parsons Dance has created targeted programs that ensure all audiences, regardless of ability, have the opportunity to connect through the universal language of dance. Scroll down to read more about our Sensory-Friendly Workshops and Relaxed Performances.
Sensory-friendly workshops create an open environment for the exploration of movement and dances with rhythm and music. Workshop curriculum was developed in collaboration with the Dance Education Laboratory at the 92nd Street Y, under the guidance of licensed psychologist, board certified dance therapist and dance educator, Diane Duggan. Students focus on fundamentals of movement: one action at a time, step by step learning, how everyday actions can be repeatable, moving separately and moving as a group, and music and rhythm.
Autism-Friendly Performances, or ‘Relaxed Performances’, allow audiences to have the freedom to express themselves and react openly while watching the dancers and hearing the music. For these performances, sensory stimuli such as lights and sound are modified and the theater designates quiet spaces to take a break from the show. There is also a talk-back element to the show. A Parsons representative will navigate the audience through the show, pausing between each piece to tell people what to look for and answer questions. This ensures that the show moves at an accessible pace and makes the performance interactive, engaging, and comfortable for all audiences.
Photos courtesy of Parsons Dance.