BOLDLY Changing Lives…
One Dance Step at a Time

BOLD Benefits of Learning Dance (BOLD) is a nonprofit organization that welcomes persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience the therapeutic benefits of ballroom dance.  


A BOLD Objective: Our Mission Statement

Benefits of Learning Dance Inc (BOLD) is a nonprofit organization that teaches ballroom dance to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In doing so, it provides physical and recreational therapy, social interaction, and music engagement through:

  1. Instruction in ballroom dance movements and techniques
  2. Engagement in regular opportunities to practice dance through organized social dancing sessions
  3. Performances of choreographed group dance formations at dance workshops and events

All of which has the potential to improve the health and wellness of BOLD participants.


BOLD Results: The Benefits of Learning Dance

Numerous studies have demonstrated the many benefits of dance. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive Benefits: Improved focus, attention, memory, and problem solving.
  • Physical Benefits: Improved mobility, range of motion, posture, balance, coordination, spatial awareness, and strength.
  • Emotional Benefits: Improved mood, self-expression, and self-esteem.
  • Social Benefits: Improved interpersonal interactions, teamwork, communication, and awareness of boundaries.

A BOLD Approach to Learning: Our Curriculum

  • Multiple Learning Opportunities: BOLD offers group classes, private lessons, and performance opportunities.
  • Multiple Dance Styles: BOLD participants learn 8 styles of ballroom dance: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, Hustle, and Salsa.
  • Multiple Dance Steps: Participants learn at least 3 patterns within each dance style.
  • Multiple Perspectives: Ballroom dance is unique in that it is a partnership style of dance. This requires participants to think about and cooperate with someone outside of themselves. Every dancer is encouraged to learn both the lead and follow roles.
  • Multisensory Learning: Say it, see it, hear it, read it, write it, do it, repeat!

Our BOLD Dancers: Why We Serve Who We Serve

  • We serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), because we believe in them and their vast potential.
  • Many individuals with IDD do not get enough physical activity, mental stimulation, or social interaction, all of which can lead to problems such as depression, mental decline, dementia, cardiovascular disease, pain, decreased mobility, and increased risk of falls.
  • When learning to dance, students learn more than just dance steps. They are learning to listen, comprehend, respond, and maintain focus.
  • This combination of intellectual stimulation and physical motion is the basis for BOLD and is the means by which participants develop skills that carry over into many aspects of their lives.

Our BOLD Leader: Sean Gehlhausen

  • With over 30 years of experience as a professional ballroom dance instructor, Sean has worked with people from all walks of life, ability levels, and ages.
  • Awarded the WRTV Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good in June 2023
  • Awarded the Indiana Fever Anthem Assist Award in September 2023
  • Registered National Dance Council of America professional.
  • Gold level dancer in American Smooth and Rhythm dance styles.
  • Graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a double major in psychology and biology.
  • Work experience as an urban middle school math and science teacher.
  • Served in Desert Storm as a Navy Medic attached to a Marine Corps infantry unit.

“It is my passion to share the joy, hope, and healing that comes from learning to dance.”

~ Sean Gehlhausen, BOLD Founder and President