I was fascinated with this project from the time it was taking shape, and was lucky enough to be a volunteer in its first stages. The people involved came together from very different backgrounds and their process of collaboration was incredible to watch. They had to create a language with which to teach dance to people who could not see to replicate a move. And they DID IT! As remarkable and exhilarating as that process was, when the instructors hit the dance floor with the kids, we were not prepared for how transformative an experience it would be for all involved: directors, instructors, and volunteers. We could see immediately how much the kids needed it and how well they responded. I've watched young men and women grow up within this organization -- not only the blind and visually impaired kids, but the volunteer high school students whose lives have also changed for the better. The organization continues to make a difference because it's always all heart, all about the kids, and because so much thought and care goes into each project they embark on.
Shiimmy really cares about making a difference + the attitude of all of all those involved reflects that. They do things the right way and have touched the lives of many.
About 5 years ago I was introduced to The Shimmy Club Inc. I volunteered to perform at one of their Fundraiser in Parrot Jungle. While preparing for the event I saw the children come out and prepare for their performance of the Argentine Tango. It was clear that some of the children were legally blind, some had physical disabilities, and others in addition had intellectual challenges. Despite all these challenges; it all seamed to disappeared when they began to dance. Their performance blew me away and that is when I knew I wanted to be apart of the Shimmy Club in a bigger/better way. A year or so later I became lead instructor in the program. It has been the most rewarding decision I had ever made. To be able to witness the physical and social change in these children in the classroom and in their every day life has been fascinating. My first time in class, I saw the difference between the new students and those who had started with the program. The new students posture was poor, they walked has if without any physical strength, and portrayed low self esteem. Months later when it was time to asses the students, it was great to see the progress in how they became aware of dancing with a straight back, walk with awareness instead of slouching along. The students disabilities no longer enabled them. I remember one of the students telling me "Ms. Ana this is my exercise. It is the only thing I can do and not be in a lot of pain." This organization deserves every support. This organization servers their community and the thousands of children with disabilities.
The Shimmy Club does a great job of helping kids in need while at the same time providing opportunities for artists to excel at their gifts. It is rare to find a facility and an owner who offers both on a continuous basis. It has been great to see the Shimmy Club grow over the years in its projects and programs.
The work being done by the Shimmy Club provides opportunity to open the doors of inclusion for those with disability. And to share in the universal experience of music, dance, and the performing arts. One of the greatest challenges for a person with disability is overcoming stigma. Stigma is a superimposed perception that stems from a lack of knowledge or understanding of potential.
I happen to be blind and I can attest that stigma can cripple self-confidence, separate, cause isolation, stilt creativity, and can divide.
I am also a dancer, a musician, and an artist, and really understand the importance of the work being done at the Shimmy Club to help others find their way into a world that is hesitant to embrace those who might contend with disability. We all deserve to dance with confidence and self-respect to the music of our lives without fear or encumbered by shame.
As a Board Member, I cried at home the day I learned that despite blindness or disability, the Shimmy students would be making their debut by stepping out onto the dance floor to join in with the dance community. My belief that it is possible to melt away the pain of separation was about to be put to the test.
The evening was wonderful, magic, and it worked. Everyone was amazed. Now the Shimmy Club torch needs to be passed along so that others who may have to contend with disability can learn to stand up to the challenge of inclusion.
I was truly amazed the first time i head that visually impaired children were being taught Argentine Tango. i am a social tango dance and so I was immediately touched to find out someone cared enough to bring to these children the wonderful music, the touching of the embrace, and the joy of the dance. The organizers, teachers and volunteers have opened up a new world for the children that never would have happened. I watched with tears in my eyes as the children performed Argentine Tango with much happiness and joy at a benefit held for them. What a spectacular sight to see. Bravo to them for their courage and to the organizer, Dianne Castro the many tango teachers and volunteers who bring light to the life of the visually impaired.
The kids in the shimmy club touched me the first time we danced at a social tango club. I was nervous dancing on a *good* day until I realized the challenges these remarkable individuals face. I'm not visually impaired but I realized I was the ninny when my partner jumped right in on the dance floor like a duck takes to water. Such bravery. Their fearless leader, Dianne, is equally impressive and is 110%dedicated to the cause.
I am happy to say that I have see the product of the Shimmy Club's hard work and committment to the children that they teach. Their patience and generosity towards those kids is unsurpassed. The Shimmy Club provides an opportunity to children to experience a different form of expression...one that affords them the ability to express themselves from the heart in ways they never would otherwise be able to. To be able to see the fruits of the Shimmy Club's efforts has been a true priviledge to me.
5 years ago, when my husband started to work for The Shimmy Club teaching Argentine tango to youth having visual impairments, I accompanied him to the classes. I knew that these children had disabilities, but I wasn't prepared how challenging teaching was going to be for my husband. Mostly the children are legally blind, but they also have multiple physical disabilities, coupled with intellectual challenges. Most of them couldn't tell if their left and right feet were together or not. Some of them even had trouble standing still. In addition, they were either shy or angry and seemed unsure of themselves. I always thought that this project was good because it gave them something to do and I also thought, some of them who are not completely blind might even learn to dance. Over the years my husband would tell me that the children had changed a lot - their posture changed, they laughed more and were more agreeable. I was most surprised when I saw them 2 years ago at one of the Shimmy Club's fundraising event. Just before the show started, I overheard one of the children say that she was absolutely excited and nervous at the same time. Their performance was absolutely touching. It was amazing to see children who are blind dance Argentine Tango (something not easy even for adults with no disabilities to learn!) They looked alive and proud of themselves. Watching them dance brought tears to my eyes. They were no longer stopped by their disabilities. This project is AMAZING and deserves every support. I hope that this kind of support becomes available to all children who need help around the world.
Any organization whose goal and objective consist of helping the youth is, in my humble opinion, worthy of our support. The Shimmy Club has been, for several years, an indispensable resource for blind children. Throughout the years I witnessed firsthand the amazing transformation of youngsters who are admitted into the program being extremely withdrawn, to say the least, and who in less than a few months are on stage performing. Shimmy Club deserves everyone support…