Believe University – A Creative Arts Community For All Abilities!

Jul 30,2018 | Art Education

Believe began six years ago as a special needs dance program to prepare students with various abilities, to develop their fullest potential. BCA’s underlying philosophy is to provide training and an abundance of experience, encouraging students to become comfortable and confident on the stage, with their peers, or in the classroom as they pursue a life of continual improvement.

Program Director, Beth McVeigh, began her journey with Believe as an assistant, when the program was an adaptive needs dance class.  The goal of the program was to serve as a safe and appropriate emotional and physical outlet for the expression of feelings, the processing of one’s inner thoughts, and the practice of daily life skills, thereby facilitating the child’s engagement and comfort level in their homes, schools, and communities. Students explored and experienced the joy of movement with a supportive and creative environment, regardless of experience and/or abilities! The class incorporated creative movement and yoga exercises, complemented with dance technique such as, jazz, hip hop and ballet, to develop both fine and gross motor skills. We love this fun dance performance from Believe’s 2018 Hollywood themed Spring recital!

In Beth’s experience with creative art therapy she has witnessed amazing cases of non-verbal students who can sing before they learn to talk! She was so passionately inspired by the positive results of the adaptive dance class, she designed an all inclusive educational arts program called Believe University, which gives the Brookfield, and the surrounding communities high level training in dance, theatre, music and visual arts.

Believe University facilitates a safe space for friendships, and social bonding, enhancing self-esteem and improving socialization and cooperation skills. This program includes the use of music, drama, and art interventions to promote academic learning, stimulate creativity and imagination. These therapies are proven to improve receptive and expressive communication. In addition, a variety of important skills are addressed such as establishing eye contact, increasing attention span, strengthening coordination, and assisting in creating smooth transitions 100% of the time.

Many studies have proven that participation in the creative arts reduces stress, which in turn enhances the ability to learn. In addition, the daily drills and routines of music, dance and drama classes allow a person with special needs to retain both knowledge and experience. The benefits of the multi-sensory nature of the arts is improvement in memory and cognition through color-coding, movement, rhythm, sound phrases, textures and other sensory input. Visual arts classes enhance comprehension and following a multi-step process, as well as tolerating different textures such as wet, dry, and sticky! Music and drama therapy are both active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for students to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Role-playing, acting out issues and problems, is more effective, and participants can enjoy the feelings of being in another person’s shoes as well as learning the liberating experience of expanding their own primary roles in life.

Believe University provides various platforms for each child to feel a sense of personal accomplishment, develops self-confidence, self-awareness, and a collective team spirit! This includes performances in our dance and music recitals, and an end of the year Semi-formal Awards Gala and art show at the beautiful Delafield Hotel, where awards will be given, including scholarships and specialty awards for leadership, growth & character. BCA is so excited for our Arts for All Abilities Community to grow and cannot wait to meet Believe University Class of 2019!