It’s Showtime folks! DANI presents: Disney’s musical – Beauty and the Beast Jr.    Liz Pearl @ PK Press

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It’s Showtime folks! DANI presents: Disney’s musical – Beauty and the Beast Jr.   

Liz Pearl @ PK Press

The 6th annual live production by DANI (Developing And Nurturing Independence) participants and staff was a night at the theatre to remember. Social media will be buzzing with highlight photos and entertaining video clips. Stay-tuned for raving reviews.

“Once upon a time…”

This classic fairy-tale story well-known as a fantasy/romance play performed on stage on Monday May 28, 2018 @ Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts by an incredible all-star cast of DANI participants was a definite crowd-pleaser, including: magical music, creative props, colourful costumes, amusing choreography and many memorable moments.

We all loved the Prince’s royal blue velvet cape and Gaston’s bright red suit and shiny black boots. Best of all – so many smiling faces on stage.

Congratulations to the dedicated team of staff, volunteers and students working on stage and behind the scenes to produce this awesome evening for the DANI community to enjoy.  Kudos to the entire crew on this enchanted production. A special shout-out to the talented and enthusiastic director: Ashleigh Molinaro. Bravo!

The bestselling soundtrack to Beauty and the Beast includes some catchy songs on the popular playlist of all-time favourite Disney tunes. My favourite: “Beauty and the Beast”, I’m a true romantic at heart! So many sweet songs to singalong: “Belle”, ‘The Forest”, “The Castle”, and more…What’s your favourite?

The story-line lends itself to meaningful dialogue about love, beauty, identity, fear, honesty, friendship, family and so much more – a great platform for learning. Featured symbols include: the clock, the rose and the mirror – excellent visual prompts for valuable conversations for audiences of all ages.

Intermission: tasty treats, courtesy of DANI Delights (COR).  My favourites: sweet and salty chewy chocolate chip cookies, chocolate brownies and blondies – delicious!

Drama is an incredible expressive activity for all abilities and all ages. The DANI participants join together twice weekly for months to rehearse and to perform an exhilarating production for their loving families, adoring friends, devoted caregivers and the community.  Interactive group dynamics, individual expression and performance all wrapped-up in a wonderful experience of dramatic arts.

The dramatic arts provide so many creative opportunities including: shadowing, mirroring, sequencing, improvising, joking, singing, dancing, verbal and nonverbal expression, and of course – performing!

I’m a huge fan of all of the expressive / creative arts media as recreational / therapeutic modalities, including: visual arts, drama, dance, movement, music, storytelling, writing and more…Expressive arts activities are engaging and inclusive and fun! It seems the stage offers a true “happy place” for some.

The rapt audience enjoyed clapping along to the familiar Disney tunes and the endearing performance concluded with a charming finale and roaring applause.

The highlight of the evening was the rush at the stage door to greet the talented actors following their stellar performances. Smiles, tears and hugs all-around. These special moments bring a whole new meaning to excitement, pride and kvelling. Wow – a shining achievement for the entire DANI community.

Stay-tuned for the big reveal of next year’s exciting performance. It promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

For more information about these and other innovative programs and opportunities for adults with special needs and all abilities visit

DANI’s tagline: Developing and Nurturing Independence.

A Hand-up. Not a Hand-out.


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