Integrative dance to improve physical function for people with developmental disabilities
Participants with developmental and intellectual disabilities participated in an integrative dance class, two times per week for 60 minutes, over a 12 week semester at a college in upstate New York. It was hypothesized that all variables would improve following participation in the dance class. Dance sessions followed the accepted structure of a classical dance class: Warm up, technique training, and traveling movement combinations through the space. Participants were encouraged to dance next to or with their partners and replicate the movement and patterns given in class to the best of their ability. Pre- and post-testing measures included lower extremity strength measured using a hand held dynamometer, flexibility measured using a knee extension test, and balance measured using a functional reach test, 30-second sit to stand test and a timed up and go test. Significant improvements were found in lower extremity strength in all muscle groups tested, hamstring flexibility, and balance.