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Meet Alyshia Clarke - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Dancing through barriers

Dance 4 All
Passionate. Generous. Ambitious

Alyshia Clarke started her Dance 4 All studio to bring children of all abilities together to have fun and be themselves.

Alyshia is a dance teacher and integration aide and started her dance studio to break down barriers for children with autism, developmental delays, physical challenges and sensory sensitivities who often feel excluded from social and sporting programs.

She trialled one all-abilities dance class to test the interest and put on a second class within a week following overwhelming demand.

The joyful classes are designed to help the children develop motor, social and cognitive skills.

Assistant buddies are welcome to attend at no cost so that every dancer has the support they need.

Alyshia’s most memorable moments include watching a non-verbal child communicate and withdrawn students becoming increasingly confident.

She is thrilled the classes promote acceptance of the children, with the all-abilities classes growing faster than the mainstream dance classes she offers. Some families travel 45 minutes to attend.

Alyshia is proud to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “I hope to become a positive role model for my students and the wider community. Neurodiverse children are gifted in ways that our society doesn’t value enough,” she says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Dance 4 All will use its funds to purchase sensory equipment and become registered as an NDIS provider, so its classes are available to more children.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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