ID: Tess (left) and Yagmur (right) sit next to each other smiling. They each have a dark-blue Berkeley graduation stole around them.
The inspiration behind Dance for All Bodies (DfAB) came from a one time dance class Yagmur organized for an amputee support group as a volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital. Yagmur left this class in August 2018 feeling a beautiful spark in her heart. She saw people enjoying moving their bodies, being creative and connecting with each other in new ways. Participants left the event asking when the next dance class would be and thus, Yagmur hatched a plan to satisfy this demand. She quickly realized that she needed an accomplice who shared her desire to make dance a more inclusive art form. This brought Tess, a close friend who is also a dancer, into the project.
After some research, they learned that there were no organizations that focus on organizing all bodies inclusive dance classes in the Bay Area. As two dancers without disabilities who have the privilege of extensive dance training, they decided to make what was available to them available to people with disabilities too. Thus, to make high quality, inclusive dance classes a reality they started working with experienced dance teachers with physical disabilities or who have worked in such spaces, making the dance class a positive and encouraging environment. In the earlier part of 2019, they organized 5 more dance classes which were taught by dancers involved with AXIS Dance Company, a physically integrated dance company in Oakland. With mentoring from Marc Brew, AXIS’s Artistic Director, they were awarded 2nd place in the Arts & Social Change Category of Big Ideas, an early stage social impact contest.
Since August 2018, they have organized more than 60 dance classes and impacted more than 300 individuals thanks to funding from ZSFGH, Big Ideas and individual donors. After a year of organizing in person classes in the Bay Area, they have transitioned to organizing classes online through the Zoom platform due to COVID-19 pandemic. Through virtual classes, we have been able to reach people from all over the world - US, UK, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Belgium and more.
Join us for a dance class or donate today to help us make the world more inclusive one dance class at a time!