Most kids love to dance. But for children with special needs, the structure and rules of a traditional dance class can be challenging, which is why Beyond Center Stage, Elmhurst’s performing arts school, is making dance accessible to people of all abilities. Beyond Barriers is its new program specifically designed for individuals with differing physical and/or intellectual abilities.

The concept for Beyond Barriers came from Jen Dolson, the program’s director, who is not only a staff member of BCS but also a certified special education teacher. She wanted to create a class where students could participate in a structured dance environment that also had specially adapted choreography and not as much pressure.Dance students have the opportunity to socialize and learn some fun dance moves and be just like other kids. Dance assistants offer assistance to students who need more individualized attention.

Dolson has been a dance instructor for ten years and was a competitive dancer who danced through college. She has worked as a dance instructor at a musical theater program and has her B.S. in Special Education.

The current class has no age limit and offers a variety of styles and music. Each class is tailored to its participants.

The program began a few weeks ago and currently runs on Thursday evenings. Students can attend on a drop-in basis or as part of a monthly session.  For more information, visit

We’re thrilled that Elmhurst offers so many opportunities to students of all abilities. To find out more about our amazing city, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website,