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The "Sounds of Central Florida" project is a partnership between WMFE and UCF's Nicholson School of Communication and Media.

Maitland dance studio offers people with disabilities a Chance 2 Dance

Nicolle Osorio-- Chance 2 Dance students get together for a group picture after a sweaty session of Hip Hop class with Miss Angel.
Nicole Osorio
Chance 2 Dance students get together for a group picture after a sweaty session of Hip Hop class with Miss Angel.

If you’ve ever walked on Lake Lily Park, and heard music blaring from a teal colored house near Maitland Avenue, there’s a good reason for it. The house is actually a dance studio for people with disabilities. The studio is called Chance 2 Dance and the non-profit founded in 2016 by Nicole Warren. She says her goal was to create a sensory-friendly and accessible environment where people with all types of neurodiversity feel safe and empowered.

"I learned very quickly that there is such a spectrum of needs, and everybody is so unique, and everybody's brain works so differently. Our constant goal is to work to understand the individual and meet them at their level and then enhance and maximize their abilities," Warren says.

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Nicole Osorio
Dance instructor and Assistant Director Angel Stumberg is leading a warm-up with her students before Hip Hop class.[/caption]

The studio is handicap accessible. Instead of stairs, there are ramps, and the doorways are wider. The facility provides headphones for individuals with sound sensitivity and color theory is used throughout the studio to create visual stimulation.

"When you're inside or out of the studio, the colors are warm. They are welcoming colors like yellow, teal, and pink that would make you feel encouraged and accepted. We want our dancers and our families to feel in a warm space for them to be themselves 100% without judgment and feel loved and cared for," Warren says.

Chance 2 Dance was recognized by the community as the '2019, 2020 and 2022 Most Loved Dance Studio' by Hulafrog Magazine. In 2020, the Orlando Family Magazine named Warren as 'Orlando Super Woman' for her efforts to make Central Florida arts a more inclusive space for students like Courtney Coil. She has down syndrome, and since joining Chance 2 Dance in 2018, she has lost 84 pounds. Today, she is part of the performance team, and wants to become a dance teacher in the future.

"Dancing makes me feel good because I like to move, and it is my way to be happy. I would love to be a dance teacher to help people get up and just dance and do it," Coil says.

Teachers are an essential part of a student's development. That is why Chance 2 Dance has a team of professional dancers passionate about sharing their love for dancing with others. All the instructors are 'Inclusion & Special Needs' certified.

Angel Stumberg is the Assistant Director at Chance 2 Dance. She is fluent in sign language and has been a lifelong advocate for the deaf community. She says she’s witnessed how dancing improves lives.

"Dancing can help people with disabilities so much. Their personalities, their bodies change, and their social interactions improve. It would be great if people started to see that people with special needs can do these things too," Stumberg says.

Chance 2 Dance held its 5th annual showcase performance on Sunday, May 22 at at the Orlando Repertory Theater.