Making a Difference Through Dance

Photo Provided These three friends have been dancing since they were children. Today, they aid children with special needs through dance. Shown at Turn It Out Dance Academy in Bellaire are from left, Nikki Kiger, Shaye Pentino and Lindsay Dobbs.

BELLAIRE — You’ve met physical therapist Lindsay Dobbs. Now meet Lindsay Dobbs the dancer.

As a licensed physical therapist with Blue Sky Therapy, Dobbs has been known to incorporate music and dance in her sessions with clients.

Dobbs has been involved in the world of dance since she was 5 years old. She was introduced to the music of great Broadway show tunes by her grandmother, whom she said, “was always singing to the music of Broadway and much more.” Her grandmother was a member of the Ohio Valley Chorale.

Dobbs’ mother signed her up for dance classes when she was 5. That was just the start. She said when she was growing up, there were often impromptu dance parties in the kitchen. With a natural talent for dance, Dobbs continued to shine during performances at Wheeling Park High School in such musicals as “Peter Pan,” “West Side Story,” and “The Music Man.”

As a student at West Virginia University, Dobbs was a member of the celebrated dance troupe, Orchesis, that was founded in 1928. She has a minor in dance.

But it’s Dobbs’ dancing that has earned her and two fellow dancers even more kudos. Dobbs and dancer friends Shaye Pentino and Nikki Kiger have been teaching dance to children with specials needs on Saturdays at Turn It Out Dance Academy in Bellaire. Kiger brings her experience as a pediatric physical therapist to the program.

The much-awarded Turn It Out Dance Academy is operated by Mandy Doyle who is very supportive of the program for children with special needs.

Dobbs said she always knew she wanted to do a dance class for kids with special needs. She noted all children react to music, but in different ways.

Since 2018, the three talented ladies have been working with young children to improve gross motor skills and more. Dobbs said the class is limited to eight youngsters with various physical and cognitive challenges. Classes are held in the fall with time off for the holidays.

Then the students participate in an annual show with Turn It Out dancers in late spring or summer.

“We incorporate elements of ballet, tap and gymnastics along with dance,” Dobbs explained. “We are going into our third year in 2020. We have been working with some of the same students since we began. We have definitely seen a lot of developmental growth and improvement.”

Some of the girls enrolled at Turn It Out also aid in the instructions for the special needs dancers. This provides one-on-one mentoring for some of the children. Dobbs said dancing has many benefits, both physical and mental, for everyone.

She said it’s very rewarding to have their students participate in recitals. “It’s nice for the parents, too, to be able to see how their children have improved.”

Classes are full at this time. To learn more about all the dance programs at Turn It Out Academy, call 740-671-9000 or check it out on Facebook.


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