Student Spotlight: Dance Movement Therapy

dance movement therapy workshop photoDanielle Gladstone and Jadry Gruen organize a dance-movement therapy workshop for individuals ages 18 and older on the autism spectrum. This program is also open to people with other developmental disabilities. Danielle and Jadry were inspired to promote social development and companionship through movement.


dance-movement therapy workshop group participating“First of all, the Dance Class for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum and with Other Developmental Disabilities would never have been possible without the ideas, enthusiasm and persistence of Jadry Gruen (School of Medicine, class of 2018), who founded the class in 2015. Since then, it has been a pleasure to be intimately involved with the class while it grows and evolves. As the current leader of the program, I feel lucky both experiencing and witnessing the human connections that emerge through movement.  My favorite part of the week is always the mirroring exercise during the biweekly dance class. Dancers partner with volunteers from the medical school and undergraduate campus, as well as aids and parents, and simply dance together. The connections formed from looking each other in the eye, mirroring each other's body movements, really seeing each other, are nothing short of amazing to watch. Although some moments like these are calm and serious, we also have lots of fun as a group, dancing and being silly to our favorite songs. This year we moved into a new space at the Stony Brook Recreation Center, thanks to the generosity of Marie Turchiano, the Associate Director for the Department of Campus Recreation. There we have gained many new dancers and found new ways to use the space and class time, like incorporating different styles of dance and inviting other medical students and undergraduates to teach. Finally, I want to thank the other students that make this group possible, as well as the numerous dancers, their families, and their invaluable support staff that have joined us in class over the last 2 years. This would never be what it is without all of you!”

-Danielle Gladstone, Stony Brook Medicine Class of 2018


“I began the class as a small personal endeavor, one that has flourished in the years since due to the dedication of Danielle and medical and undergraduate student volunteers, the generosity of SBU faculty, and commitment of our wonderful dance class participants on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities. It has been a huge privilege to work with all these people and to share my love of dance with them, and I am humbled by the creative force this group has generated. So bravo, Danielle! I cannot wait to see the feature and to hear about how the class continues to grow in the future!

-Jadry Gruen, Stony Brook Medicine Class of 2017

dance-movement therapy workshop for individuals ages 18 and older on the autism spectrum