ABOUT

kids inclusive learning, physed, autism, down syndrome, movement therapy, dance therapy, positive body image, confidence

Our Story

Heart of DANCE was founded by professional educator, dancer and activist Ashlee Davidson. With a Masters Degree in Arts for Social Change Education, a student of Dance Movement Therapy and fifteen years teaching experience she pursued her dream of creating Heart of DANCE, a company that provides inviting, empowering programs to an inclusive community.

Having first hand experience with dance being her most powerful guidance, Ashlee grew up competitively trained in traditional dance genres where she learned the skill and discipline of dance, but more powerful than learning technique, she identified the art of dance as a healing practice.

She recognized dance as a right of practice for everyone to benefit from, not only the professionally trained. With dance she was able to express her emotions she could not find the words to describe. She allowed her body to take over and express through gesture and that movement became her medicine supporting her through the difficult and most joyous times in her life.

During her time as a masters student studying art education Ashlee started teaching dance to special needs high school students as a part of their physical education curriculum. Creating innovative and accessible programs using methods of dance, story-telling and imagination developed into DiverseAbility Dance, the program she now teaches to college students living with disabilties, to online participants with livestream classes, as well to dancers at local disability centers today. This work inspired her to further her education in dance by enrolling in Dance Movement Therapy courses. Ashlee’s curiosity in learning about the connection between dance and the brain, how the practice effects our physical, mental, spiritual and social health is a pursuit she will never stop researching.  Ashlee has found her life’s purpose, to share and facilitate the powerful healing tool of dance with the Heart of DANCE community, and all are welcome!

Mission and Philosophy

Mission

Create inclusive dance classes that invite people to fully express themselves in movement and music. Inspire people to connect with the most authentic part of themselves, to feel love and acceptance in the deepest part of their heart. Give autonomy to people living with disabilities by providing resources they can access online at any time. Live your fullest life through the art of DANCE = Diversity, Accessibility, Non-Judgement, Community, Empowerment

Philosophy

Dance is something that is innate in every human being, we dance when we are babies with no shame felt. Dance has been proven to benefit overall health, cultivate trusting relationships and create a sense of joy for those who dance together. It is a wonder why people stop dancing when they age, why the seemingly exclusive word DANCE scares “non-dancers” to run off the dance floor. It is the riddle of embarrassment that some of us feel when we move our bodies in a non linear, non militant way; when this movement is the exact action that is needed to release the pent up emotion to let go and LIVE.

DANCE Values

Diversity

We value the unique and special qualities that every human brings to this world. No two people are the same and that is something to be celebrated. We ensure all dancers are treated equally and invite people of all backgrounds, gender, ability and skill to the dance floor.

Accessibility

We value being available and reachable for all of our community members. We understand that some people live far away, some don’t drive or have access to transit, some prefer not to dance in front of others, and some may require financial subsidy.  Our virtual studio allows all to participate and offers gifted classes to friends who need a helping hand.

Non-Judgment

Heart of DANCE holds no space for judgement of any kind. People are not to be judged but to be supported by one another. We value our community of dancers who embrace the uniqueness and magic of every individuals movement.

Community

A healthy community recognizes each member for their unique qualities. We support each member in their personal exploration and encourage dancers to take safe risks in their movement, to let go of competition and to showcase their magic in performance. Extending beyond the dance floor, our community supports individuals goals and aspirations.

Empowerment

It is the natural flow of life to have ups and downs. A community flourishes when people empower one another. We take all opportunity to lift each other up and encourage our community to support each other in dance and in life.

“Founder’s Message

“Life is a beautiful blessing and sometimes life isn’t easy. We all have menial and profound experiences that shape the way we dance through life, and regardless of how pointed our toe is or how high we kick our leg dance is an expression that can free our mind from burden or allow us to celebrate in utter joy. When I was a young girl I found it hard to find the right words to speak about my feelings. I held on to feelings of shame and fear that I did not want to speak transparently about. I knew I needed to release these feelings and I found support through dance. In every trial and tribulation to every joyous and excited celebration it has been dance that has enabled me to truly feel, connect with and express those feelings. Depending on what type of relationship one wants with dance, the practice fits every lifestyle. It’s fitness, it’s fun, its deeply connective and whatever level of commitment chosen, the practice meets you where you are at. I acknowledge dance to be a challenging practice, but like the caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly after it pushes through, the soul shine’s through when one gets on the dance floor.”