About the Mindful Movement Center For Dance

The Mindful Movement Center for Dance is a safe haven for emotional growth and creativity. It is a home for all dancers regardless of challenges. Our goal is to use dance and movement to heal, create self awareness and pride, and connect our community.

Autism Movement Therapy Program

The Autism Movement Therapy Program is specifically geared towards children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Neurological disorders.  Our program engages and strengthens both sides of the brain, and helps them to communicate more fluidly.

The goals of the program are to improve:

  • Posture and gait

  • Spatial awareness (how the child moves through space and their perception of where they are in a space)

  • Balance both physically and emotionally

  • Proprioception: or where the body is in relation to gravity and in relation to self and others

  • Socialization through perception of non-verbal communication from others

  • Emotional health: helping to feel emotions of self and read emotions in others

  • Self-awareness and avoidance behavior ( keeping a child safe)

Within the class structure you will see a mixture of dance styles, authentic movement, as well as an infusion of yoga and breathing techniques. Each student will be placed in a class based on an introductory meeting that determines where the perfect fit for their child would be for their specific age, socialization level, movement experience, and comfortably level.   Class is held once a week for 40 to 45 minutes.  Class sizes range between 2 to 12 dancers in order to give each individual child the attention they need.

The Mixed Abilities Program is to create a safe and comfortable environment for all dancers to move, create, share, and learn from each other.  This program combines dancers with physical disabilities and dancers without physical disabilities who want to learn new ways to move and create.

The goals of the program are:

  • To create community

  • To enhance the creativity of the dancers

  • To give dancers with physical challenges an environment where they can share their path and challenges with others and tell their story in their way

  • To give all dancers a safe place to express themselves

  • To create a safe space for emotional growth

  • To allow every soul the chance to feel their breath and dance

The class structure will be all forms of movement and styles of dance.  It will be a combination of teacher lead instruction and dancer lead improvisation. The dancers will work both individually and as partners.  The classes will be held once a week for 45 minutes. Class size will range from 4 to 12 dancers.

Mixed Abilities Program

About Our Founder

Kristen De Benedetto
Program Director

Kristen De Benedetto began her formal dance training at the age of five with her focus on classical ballet. She is versed in multiple styles of classical ballet, including: studying the Cecchetti method under Julie Carson, the Vaganova technique under the tutelage of Joyce Lang and Andrew Pap, and the Balanchine technique with Barbara Sandonato. 


Ms. De Benedetto was awarded various scholarships and awards throughout her pre-professional career, including summer intensive grants for the Homer Bryant School of Ballet in Chicago, and a scholarship to The University if the Arts in Philadelphia where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Dance Education with a focus on Dance and Movement Therapy. 

Her post graduate studies in the field of dance and movement therapy inspired the creation of The Mindful Movement Center for Dance. Having performed in multiple ballets and dance production throughout her career and in sporting events ranging from the opening ceremony of the World Cup Soccer Games to performing at the Chicago Bulls basketball games, Kristen empowers her students with the knowledge of how to combine both performance and technique to capture the audience. 


At age 14 she began her teaching career as an assistant in the dance company classes and children’s classes, which sparked her love of giving back to the next generation. Having taught in both the Mid-West and Philadelphia. Kristen relocated to Los Angeles in the fall of 2001 where she continued to teach ballet, pointe, modern, tap, jazz, and lyrical. 


In all avenues of her life Kristen has sought to bring the joy of movement to those she mentors. Recently, Ms. De Benedetto has revisited her passion of combining dance and movement into a form of therapy for children and adults with both emotional and physical disabilities. She received her Autism Movement Therapy Certification in the spring of  2017 and is a certified provider in Santa Clarita.

She is also a diehard Harry Potter fan... "Always.", raises a beautiful tornado of a 7 year-old son, will drive 2 hours for a sandwich that reminders her of her hometown of Chicago, and is always in search of the perfect bowl of chips & salsa and a beach to enjoy them on. 

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©2019 Ekata Dance and Yoga.

Contact Us

25850 McBean Pkwy.

Valencia, CA 91355


​(818) 489-5542