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.
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.
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…
The Shimmy Club has so enhanced the lives of the children. I have witnessed blind childern who at first sat in a chair and had no or very little interaction, turn into completely outgoing self suficient people, it touched my heart like nothing else.
The Shimmy Club is an unusual organization that brings joy and a venue for self expression and improved self-esteem to an under-served population. As a volunteer helping with the PR, it's been a pleasure to learn more about the Shimmy Club's mission, as well as to witness the dedication that its supporters provide. Dianne Castro is extremely committed to intelligently guiding the organization's growth and keeping information on the website accessible to its primary audience, the visually impaired. As a dancer in the tango community, I've also witnessed first-hand the pleasure the students get in joining in a milonga or performing. This organization has been supported unflaggingly by the local South Florida tango community and some devoted tango professionals who lend their skills. It's my hope that it gains well deserved national recognition.