Never mind that Willy is hearing impaired. He spun and twirled Northview High School junior Arianna Dixon stylishly to the tune of “In the Mood.”
They were two of the more flamboyant dancers in a warm-up to the annual prom for Kent County young adults with developmental disabilities. Northview students volunteered to help about 50 students with special needs practice their dance moves before the big dance at Creston High School.
Students came to practice at Northview from Kent Vocational Options, a program that helps 18- to 26-year-olds learn job and lifeskills. It’s run jointly by Kent ISD and Grand Rapids Public Schools. Northview teams each year to help KVO students prepare for the dance.
Schooled by professional dance teacher Patty Silvestro, about 100 students paired off to do the swing, Texas two-step, disco and twist. They dipped, strolled and got down. One KVO student even did a break dance, whirling around on the floor to the whoops of his fellow dancers.
Some Northview students, like senior Taylor White, go to the prom as well. “I just love the atmosphere and the kids,” Taylor said. “They’re so much fun.”
For the KVO students, it’s “a chance to interact with people without a disability,” said teacher Tom Scott. “These Northview kids do a wonderful job.”
“They want to dance like everybody else,” said Silvestro, the dance teacher. “That’s part of our culture.”