In the fall of 2010, Susan Ware, Dance Theater Specialist, was in a bind. Every year for the past seventeen years, she had a dance troupe that would conduct workshops and performances for the Lower School of The Harley School in Brighton. But as she had recently left this position and troupe, she could not agree to this performance.

But, thanks to Kelly Centola and CDS Monarch, the show did go on. Susan soon had a group of newly trained dancers ready to perform. This group of individuals worked with third graders at Harley and performed for the Lower School to great acclaim. The dancers received excellent support from Kelly and the staff at BCO.

After this successful performance, the group performed again in early 2011 at Pinebook School in Greece where they worked with first and third graders.

Following those first performances, Susan and the ten dancers within the troupe decided to call themselves The Dance Connection. The group also created a motto for themselves which is to "Dance Connect Inspire". The Dance Connection's goal is to enter the world with talent and knowledge, giving the dancers the ability to teach others about dance as well as about what people with disabilities can accomplish.

During the 2011-2012 season, The Dance Connection has returned to perform at both Harley and Pinebook. The group has also attracted the attention of Young Audiences of Rochester and Susan is currently recruiting more schools for the dancers to perform at for the 2012-2013 season.

The Dance Connection also visits Baywinde Senior Living Facility twice a month to work with the residents. After performing there for the first time, they were immediately asked the group to return regularly and they are beginning to form close relationships with the residents of Baywinde.

The dancers have a performance on June 29th for an organization called Cool Kids. The mission of Cool Kids is to book performing acts from all walks of life to perform for families and children. This performance will be at Sagawa Park, Brockport, at 7PM. The Dance Connection will also perform in the fall for Cool Kids at Genesee Community College.

Similarly, CDS Monarch's theater troupe, The Monarch Players has been invited to perform at the first ever Rochester Fringe Fest, at Blackfriars Theater in Rochester, in September. This performance is a wonderful accomplishment for the troupe, as many theater groups in the area applied but not all received a slot to perform. The Monarch Players may also be the only company with actors with disabilities invited to the Fringe. They will be performing a combination of Shakespeare scenes and dances, and The Dance Connection will join The Monarch Players for the performance.

"I have honestly never been happier, after all these years doing this work, than I have been at CDS Monarch," Susan Ware said regarding her time spent with her dance and theater troupes.

Be sure to check out the upcoming performances of The Dance Connection and The Monarch Players!
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