A night to remember

Top Hat Dance Studio is hosting a prom for its special needs students.

All the right moves: Top Hat Dance Studio, at 10771 Bustleton Ave., will host a prom for members of its special needs dance program on Friday, May 4. All are invited. The studio’s owner hopes non-students who come will be exposed to dance and realize they can do it themselves. SOURCE: ANNIE HILL

You don’t have to be a high school student to go to prom.

Top Hat Dance Studio, located at 10771 Bustleton Ave., will be hosting a prom for members of its special needs dance program. It’s a celebration of the studio’s fairly new special needs program, which already teaches between 30 and 40 students after officially beginning in November.

The program came about when instructor Annie Hill gave two students with special needs private lessons until they were able to perform a recital.

“We thought, why don’t we just have an entire program?” said Daniel McGee, owner of the studio.

The prom will be held Friday, May 4, from 8 to 11 p.m. and will feature a DJ, photo booth, activities, games and, of course, dancing. Anyone is invited, whether they’re a current student or not. McGee hopes non-students who come will be exposed to dance and realize they can do it themselves.

“The beauty of the program is our entire studio is behind it,” he said. “A lot of our non-special needs students voluntarily come in every Sunday to make sure each student has a dance partner.” Many of those students also volunteered to attend the prom to make sure everyone has a dance partner.

Hill said every special needs student is grateful to learn.

SOURCE: ANNIE HILL

“With anything I teach them, they just get so excited,” she said. “When they’re turning, or do a move, or get to line dance, they are grateful and happy. They want to learn and show us they can do things that all of us can do.”

Having a prom was the idea of the parents as a way of giving the students a chance to socialize and have fun.

“Parents are so happy they can do this for the children,” Hill said.

Hill herself is a former student of the studio, joining the studio in 2011 and coming to teach two years ago. She said her favorite part of the studio was how accepting it was.

“You come here to have fun and learn how to dance,” she said. “It’s like a family here.”

Prom attendees are encouraged to come dressed to impress. A special dance class will be offered at 7 p.m. before the prom begins. Tickets cost $15 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

The studio was founded 23 years ago and currently resides in its third Northeast location, having outgrown the previous two, said McGee. ••

To learn more about Top Hat Dance Studio, visit tophatdancestudio.com.