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Who Says You Can’t Dance in a Wheelchair?
Consider for a moment some of the sports you love to play – maybe footy? Basketball? Table tennis? Maybe participating in running events?
You know what’s involved in those. You know how much your legs work in helping you achieve the necessary speed, strength, jump height, long kicks, etc.
Now sit yourself down on a kitchen chair and try making the same moves without moving your legs at all. Pretend they are strapped down and simply can’t move. Tough, huh?
Yet there are countless mobility-impaired people worldwide participating and competing in Para Sports, such as basketball, athletics, rugby, tennis and more. And if you’ve ever watched the Paralympics, you’ll know just how powerful these athletes are!
Able-bodied dancers rely on their legs to propel them across the floor. Now let’s sit those same dancers down on our kitchen chairs and ask them to dance their routines like that, without their legs. How hard would it be to create, without being able to move from the waist down, the movements, shapes, grace and beauty we see in able-bodied dancers?
OK, so you’re mobility-impaired and you use a wheelchair – but you’d really like to dance. Can you?
You bet you can!
Para Dance Sport, created in Sweden as a means of recreation and rehabilitation, began as ‘wheelchair dancing’ in 1968, and one of its very first proponents was wheelchair user Els-Britt Larsson.
In 1975 the first competition, involving 30 couples, was held – in Vasteras, Sweden – and the first international competition followed just two years later. The sport’s popularity has grown exponentially since then, and today there are Para Dance Sport competitions and championships all over the world.
Para Dance Sport is incredibly elegant, graceful and exciting. Dancers compete in Standard Ballroom (Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep) and Latin (Samba, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive) events, at all levels and grades.
In Australia, Para Dance Sport is attracting many to the classes offered at studios. With the popularity of this sport growing and developing year-on-year, the Para Dance competition events are standouts, adored by competitors and favourites of the spectators, who recognize these athletes for the champions they are.
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