By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of Drexel University dance students spent the past six months partnering with high school students with cerebral palsy and they are counting down to a big performance.
Every Tuesday, Drexel sophomore Haley Robinson travels to HMS School for Children with cerebral palsy at 44th and Baltimore Ave.
“Billy, do you like to dance?” She asked smiling, “Yeah, he’s having a good day today. He’s been great to work with.”
In his teens, Billy is a non-verbal student at HMS. He’s bound to a wheelchair, but he’s very expressive and loves to move. Volunteer Haley takes the lead, steering Billy’s wheelchair through choreographed moves, in synch with the other half a dozen dance pairs.
“It’s all about just moving with them, as they can,” says Robinson, “Some of them are self-assisted and so we encourage them to drive because that gets their brain patterning going.”
“They’re expressing themselves with their faces, their bodies, it’s very enriching,” says Rachel Federman-Morales, a dance movement therapist at HMS. She says students will perform the dance “Space, Shape and Flow” to mark the 5th anniversary of the school’s collaboration with Drexel.
Morales says the partnership is broadening the students’ horizons.
“We’re seeing beyond their disability and really tapping into their strengths. We’re allowing them to really express and communicate through the language of dance.”
Months of rehearsals will culminate on May 30th with a performance at Drexel University.
For more on HMS School, visit: www.hmsschool.org.