Nicolle Osorio– Chance 2 Dance students gather for a group photo after a sweaty session of Hip Hop class with Miss Angel.
If you’ve ever walked down Lake Lily Park and heard music blaring from a teal-colored house near Maitland Avenue, there’s a good reason for that. The house is actually a dance studio for people with disabilities. The workshop is called Chance 2 Dance and the nonprofit founded in 2016 by Nicole Warren. She says her goal was to create a sensory, accessible environment where people with all types of neurodiversity feel safe and empowered.
“I learned very quickly that there is such a range of needs, that everyone is so unique, and everyone’s brain works so differently. Our constant goal is to work to understand the individual and meet them at their level, then improve and maximize their abilities,” says Warren.
The studio is handicapped accessible. Instead of stairs, there are ramps and the doors are wider. The facility provides headphones for those sensitive to sound, and color theory is used throughout the studio to create visual stimulation.
“When you’re inside or outside the studio, the colors are warm. These are welcoming colors like yellow, teal, and pink that will make you feel encouraged and accepted. We want our dancers and families to feel in a warm space to be 100% non-judgmental themselves and to feel loved and cared for,” says Warren.
Chance 2 Dance was recognized by the community as the “Most Loved Dance Studio of 2019, 2020 and 2022” by Hulafrog magazine. In 2020, Orlando Family Magazine named Warren as ‘Orlando Super Woman’ for her efforts to make the arts in Central Florida 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’s my way of being happy. I would love to be a dance teacher to help people get up and dance and do it,” Coil says.
Teachers are an essential part of a student’s development. That’s why Chance 2 Dance has a team of professional dancers who are passionate about sharing their love for dance with others. All instructors are ‘Inclusion & Special Needs’ certified.
Angel Stumberg is the assistant director of Chance 2 Dance. She is fluent in sign language and has always been an advocate for the deaf community. She says she has witnessed how dancing improves life.
“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 5e annual showcase performance on Sunday, May 22 at the Orlando Repertory Theater.