Expressive Movement Initiative
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  1. Provide an expressive outlet for children with developmental disabilities.

  2. Foster mentorship and a sense of community among students and volunteers.

  3. Eliminate the stigma and reduce the challenges associated with disability on the UCLA campus and beyond.

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Who are We?

The Expressive Movement Initiative (EMI) aims to introduce the art of creative movement and therapeutic dance to children with developmental disabilities. The first branch of EMI opened at the University of Oklahoma in 2013, and has now been extended to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) through the support of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART).

Volunteer dance teachers are paired one-on-one with an EMI student, modifying movements to accommodate each disability at weekly dance classes. Recitals provide an exciting opportunity for students to perform for their family and friends!

EMI at UCLA began our Fall classes on October 2nd, 2019. We are thrilled to be working with our new students, and happy to now begin accepting enrollments for our Winter classes starting on January 15, 2020.

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Get Involved


Register Your dancer today!

Our dance classes bring the art of creative movement to children with developmental disabilities. The students participate in weekly group classes, paired one-on-one with a dedicated volunteer. Classes begin January 15, 2020 and late enrollment is available until February 19, 2020.


Volunteer opportunities

Love kids? Love dance? Love teaching kids to dance? Make a difference in the lives of kids with developmental disabilities by joining EMI@UCLA, working in the classroom or behind the scenes!

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EMI@OU Overview


Check This Out!


EMI in the Oklahoman

EMI is featured in The Oklahoman article “Dance classes give children in Norman chance to rise above disabilities.”


EMI on Fox News

Watch EMI on this Fox News OKC TV segment, “Tell Me Something Good,” featuring how volunteers from OU teach Kids To Express Themselves


Emi’s first time on stage

Get an inside look at EMI’s 2014 recital, where students from the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities dance with volunteer teachers from the University of Oklahoma.

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Meet Our Team

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Emily Coker, MD Candidate

EMI Founder

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

EMI-UCLA Board of Advisors

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Rujuta Wilson, md

Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and Psychiatry

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment

EMI-UCLA Board of Advisors

Fall 2019 Volunteers:

Aria Terango, Kat De Nicola, Julia Cheng, Candis Morrison, Shekinah Laylo, Gorety Nguyen, Emmalee Belleci, Samantha Chang, Sarah Curry, Nicole Yip, Hannah Ferguson, Alejandra Sanchez, Alison Munoz, Isabelle Sheinblum, Jared Gao, Paywand Baghal, Maya Peterson, Isabella Poschl, Nicole Shak, Edith Escalante, Daniella Masrour, Austin Saephan, Marina Gollas, & Adrienne Long


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In Association with UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment. The UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment integrates clinical research and treatment programs at UCLA to provide a true multidisciplinary approach towards autism spectrum disorder (ASD).