BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — They’re often simple activities, but they’re evenings that young people around Bismarck and Mandan look forward to for months. Dreams in Motion provides chances for young people to get out on the floor and dance. But those activities aren’t always simple to plan. They require help from parents, volunteers and motivated kids.
“It’s a place to just have fun and meet new people. I just love it,” dancer Agatha Gietzen said.
Dreams in Motion started over 10 years ago in Bismarck as a way to provide games and exercise to people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
“We only had two practices, so I’m a little nervous,” dancer Lily Ford said.
“My daughter always gets really excited when we talk about, ‘Oh, we have Dreams in Motion dance tonight, or basketball tonight,” Mandan mom Toby Lunstad said. “She knows what Dreams in Motion means.”
On this particular night, Dreams in Motion means these kids are joining together for a dance routine, with the goal of getting the kids moving and combining both fun and exercise.
The Dreams in Motion dancers practice and put on a performance every spring. During these recitals, coach Lacey Long helps come up with moves that help children to maintain a healthy weight, improving their body’s range of motion and even lower the risk of depression.
“Every year, it’s bigger and bigger,” Gietzen says. “The crowd really enjoys it.”
“It’s amazing what you can see for that consistent ability to participate in these sports,” Dreams in Motion board president Kiley Dosland said. “They come consistently, the ability and the progress. Their skills, hand-eye coordination, their strength and mobility — it definitely keeps them active. It’s a way for them to keep physically fit, because just like everybody else, they need to get that as well.
By the time the song ends, the dancers were excited for plenty of pictures and hugs. None of these families are in a big hurry to go home.
“To see them excel and have something specifically for them and think, ‘hey, I can play dance, I can do basketball’,” Dosland said. “And being able to adapt that to their needs and have them be able to participate is just unbelievable.”
“People with cerebral palsy can do anything they want to,” Gietzen said. “As long as they put their mind to it.”
These young minds say they’ll keep playing and dancing as long as they can.
Dreams in Motion offers the programs for free, which includes adaptive programs like wheelchair basketball, track and field, tennis and even downhill skiing. To learn more about the organization, visit their website here.