Research indicates that the performing arts can provide people who have support needs with a sense of value and a sense of community. This is what Poonam C. Vaidya’s Girl Scout Gold Award (Rainbow Stars Service Unit – Troop 721) hoped to accomplish the week of July 16-20, 2012 at the Texana Learning Center at Rosenberg. Texana Center focuses on helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism and behavioral healthcare issues.
Dance Around the World (a 5 day dance camp) had an emphasis on enjoyment and development. The camp taught various dances as well a little about the cultural surrounding the dance. The camp taught Bollywood (Naach Houston, Inc.), Salsa, Ballet (The Houston Ballet Docent Program), and Line Dancing (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Speakers Bureau-Mr. Bill Sharber) to the participants. On the final day, the participants put on a show to demonstrate to their family and friends what they had learned.
The camp let the participants explore rhythms, body shapes and movements together, while learning fine-motor skills, coordination, body and spatial awareness, strength, flexibility, ability to follow direction, and discipline. Initially, the intent of the camp was for Ms. Vaidya to take action and make a difference in the community. By the end of the camp, it was the relationships that she had built with the participants.
Through this camp, the participants were taught life skills while at the same time experienced dance from around the world as an expressive art form. These benefits will continue when Mr. Mahesh Mahubhani from Naach Houston, Inc begins teaching his Bollywood Class at the Texana Learning Center as part of Naach’s Community Outreach Program.
Vaidya is a junior at Austin High School and a resident of New Territory. She plans to visit the Texana Center and teach more classes when she has the time.