Adaptive dance course taught for the first time at Cerritos College


Adaptive Dance: students and instructor dance during the first-thought adaptive PE course at Cerritos College by Beatrice Horner, a part-time adaptive dance professor. she is hands-on and teaches students proper form and rotation to protect their knees. Photo credit: Derrick Coleman

Derrick Coleman and Jazmin Taha

Cerritos College started its first adaptive dance course this 2019 fall semester.

Beatrice Horner, adaptive dance professor, started the class to incorporate more techniques from ballet and modern dance, versus their gained knowledge of social dancing through their daily life.

Beatrice Horner is a part-time professor in the dance department at Cerritos College. She has experience working with both really young kids beginning from age five to senior citizens up to the age of 80 years old.

Horner has worked with dance in many different realms therapeutically, just for fun and for self-expression.

“I actually started dancing with a young man with cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair, and we danced for four years together,” Horner said, “He was able to go from not talking very much and not having the avenues to be able to express himself, to get him out of the wheelchair moving across the floor just like in modern dance class, using breathing [techniques] to help him with his posture.”

Horner and one of her friends discussed how “this needs to be available at the community college level and beyond,” so she approached Rebekah Davidson Hathaway, the chair of the dance department with the idea of the adaptive dance course.

Horner said, “We have a great adapted PE program, let’s try to collaborate and so we did last year and this year.”

During the class, the instructor will show videos of the kind of dance students are dancing. The powerpoint also includes audibled lectures and visual lectures.

Horner said, “We usually do about 30 minutes of lecture at the beginning. Sometimes at the end of class.”

She also added the exercise offered in class can help students learn about rotation and safety and protecting their knees.

“Everything is safe for our own bodies and our class, where we’re being honest with how much we can move on a day to day basis,” she said, “Because it changes, really being able to find those light bulbs and [eyes sparkle].”