dance for all program
Originally designed for teens and adults with developmental disabilities, Dance For All (DFA) is a therapeutic program based in dance/movement and yoga that is easily adapted to a variety of populations. In
addition to elementary and middle school special day classes, Dance for
All has been successfully delivered to children in traditional Pre-K and
elementary schools as well as to older adults.
Dance for All:
social and emotional learning through creative movement
While regularly-scheduled classes are offered through the Dance for All organization, we have co-developed a one-day facilitator training that allows participants to learn the tenets of DFA so that they may bring this innovative program into their own work.
The comprehensive DFA curriculum for this training includes eight theme-based modules based in dance/movement therapy and yoga, each divided into three sections, which can be mixed and matched according to needs of the dancers. Step-by-step directions, pre- and post-discussion prompts, props/music suggestions, and helpful hints are included for all movement activities.
Watch a short introduction video on the Dance for All curriculum.
sample themes include:
current classes, upcoming trainings & the dfa manual:
- Introductions: Fun and creative methods for beginning a class
- Friendship: Building social skills and recognizing social cues
- Feelings Identification: Identifying emotions to facilitate self-regulation
- Posture: Developing body awareness
- Calm Body: Creative and soothing methods to facilitate self regulation
Visit the Dance For All website for class schedules, events, and stories.
To sign up for our next Dance for All Facilitator Training, click here.
To purchase the Dance for All curriculum manual, click here.
volunteer and training opportunities:
Be a valued and needed part of our team! Volunteers can serve in several ways including assisting dancers in classes and performances. Volunteers are encouraged to find their own niche in the DFA family.
Looking to find your voice in teaching and leadership? Internship and training opportunities are also available.
No problem. Click here for FAQs.
For further inquiries on our facilitator trainings and/or the DFA manual, email us at email@example.com or telephone us at (310) 452-1439.
For further inquiries on DFA class schedules, events, stories, and for volunteer and internship/training opportunities, contact Hilary Kern at
"I've been using the new techniques you taught us, such as
starting with a simple, rhythmic song to get them dancing, clapping out
the syllables of their name while they say it to the group, and inviting
each person to pick a part of the body for us to warm up! We are
getting a lot of participation now. I also looked for signs of
engagement from one young man who refuses to dance with us. By the end
of class his legs were bouncing energetically while he sat in his
chair." – Sarah Haykel, Dance and Yoga Instructor and Life Coach
"I had a great experience teaching Dance For All. The notes
provided by Hilary Kern and Kathy Cass were very helpful for me in order
to formulate a certain structure for the class, as well as a fun way to
introduce the topic of balance. I felt like I was free to experiment
and develop my own teaching style throughout the class. I learned and
practiced different ways to communicate instructions to the dancers by
using words that were more clear and understandable for them. I feel
like I learned a lot of effective communication and leadership skills by
teaching this class, and I'm looking forward to teaching my next
class." – Clorinda Rossi-Shewan, MA, Lead Instructor, Dance For All
“For someone like Elisa whose cognitive skills and verbal
expression are limited, dance has been a wonderful vehicle for her to
express herself. Dance class is also a social environment where she is
fully accepted and appreciated, which helps bolster both her social
skills and her self-esteem. As Elisa’s mother, I have always wanted
Elisa to participate in activities that she enjoys and to have as rich a
life as possible despite her limitations. I also want to surround her
with people that truly care about her and want to contribute to her joy,
sense of well-being, and good self-esteem. It fills my heart when I see
her happy and when she tells me, 'I love my life!' I know DFA has
helped Elisa feel that way about her life.” – Lora Jerugim, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Dance For All Parent
“Learning dance techniques have helped me in every day of my life. E.g.
walking in crowds and crowded intersections. My favorite DFA moments are
when we are all happy laughing together. DFA has brought me increased
sociability—increased physical fitness and a better mood.” – Kellie, Dance For All Program Participant and Mentor
“Lexi was only ten years old when we found out about a dance
program for youth and adults with special needs. We were invited to
bring her by to see if it would be a good 'fit.' Well, Lexi started
dancing that day and,thirteen years later, she hasn’t stopped. At Dance
For All, Lex is a dancer, a friend, a helper, a choreographer, and a
valued and contributing member of a group of very special individuals
who want nothing more than to have fun together and bring joy and light
into our world. At the helm of this remarkable program is Hilary Kern — a
beautiful young woman who is not only a teacher and guide, she is
starshine personified. - Hillary Kessler, Program Manager, Client Services, Westside Regional Center, Dance For All Parent
curriculum development team:
Kathy Cass MA, BC-DMT, NCC, CYT, E-RYT 500 is a board certified dance/movement therapist, nationally certified counselor, and a certified yoga therapist with over 25 years of instructional and clinical experience. She is the founder of Dance For All and has expertise in non-profit leadership. Kathy has served as head of the national BC- DMT panel of the Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board and has lectured at Scripps College, Center for Movement Education and Research at Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, and the Los Angeles Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Kathy is currently a part-time faculty member at Santa Monica College Emeritus Division, El Camino Community College, and Center for Movement Education and Research. She has been an Advisory Board Member for California State University, Fullerton, Extended Education in Expressive Arts Therapies. She also maintains a private Yoga Therapy /Ayurveda Life Skills practice in Santa Monica, CA. Kathy is Program Manager and core instructor for UCLArts and Healing, including its recently launched Social Emotional Arts Certificate Program.
Hilary Kern MA, LMFT, ATR, CYT is
the director of Dance For All and has been a dedicated member for over
15 years. Hilary has initiated healing-arts programs, including
yoga-based programs, in the Santa Monica School district and in the
School-Age Parent and Infant Development program. Hilary’s clinical
experience includes providing art therapy to children, adolescents,
families, and adults at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and several
community mental health settings. She currently brings her
multidisciplinary background of movement, yoga, and clinical art
psychotherapy, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#89912), to
her private practice in Los Angeles. She runs Expressive Arts Therapy
groups for adolescents in recovery at Paradigm Malibu and currently
co-chairs the Expressive Arts Therapy Committee for the Los Angeles
Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family