School of Education News

Wisconsin Life features alum Matzner teaching accessible ballet

July 27, 2018

Wisconsin Life recently featured UW-Madison alumna J Matzner and her career working to make ballet accessible to people with mobility challenges.

Matzner earned an undergraduate degree from the School of Education’s Dance Department in May 2013.

The Wisconsin Life story centers around one of Matzner's students, Mari Koopman, who is in a wheelchair. 

“She’s much more than a teacher to me. She’s a friend that I get to hug every week and a person who I can laugh with and dance with. She doesn’t think it’s sad that we have special needs. She makes it an opportunity to make us stronger," Koopman said about Matzner. 

“My mother put me into dance because she didn’t think I was very coordinated. I do remember that I was about four or five and I remember being in my very first dance recital. I never really stopped until I had a life-threatening illness. It’s the first time movement had ever been taken away from me. It gave me insight, I feel, into what others experience when they can’t move," Matzner told Wisconsin Life. 

​Check out the full report on this WisconsinLife.org web page.


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