In my younger years in the chair, there were those times when I rolled out onto the dance floor and danced! Yes, danced in my chair! Oh, the first few times that I did it, I felt like everybody was watching and feeling sorry for me. "Look at that poor guy, so sad!" I was intimitaded by all the legs.
I enjoyed it though, and once dancing, forgetting the folks watching me, it was fun. I did that often over the next few years, never caring about what other people thought, learning to transcend my ego. There isn't anything wrong with having some fun is there? Well time passed and passed some more, my body has way to many aches and pains, and my butt does not like to be sit on. So, I will leave the dancing in Wheelchairs to you young folks. Check out these Dance Companies, and if one of them is in your area; and if you are ready to dance, go see them!
Full Radius Dance's focus is on skill and artistry. That some of the dancers use wheelchairs is secondary. The wheelchair may lend additional movement possibilities to the choreography, but is not the focal point of the work. The goal is to so enchant the audience that they forget the wheelchair and focus on the dance.
Now, I know that there are still some people out there who just can't connect these two concepts, and these people aren't just so called 'able bodied' ones. If you are a wheelchair user, like me, and interested in moving those hot wheels, just get down to a local dance floor (check out that it is accessible - but don't take a no for an answer -sometimes they just try to get away without the 'embarrassment' presumably caused by our lot.). Don't go too late in the evening, or everything is choc-a-bloc. If you get there about 8.30 or 9.00 p.m. (depending on the venue), on a Friday or Saturday night, the dance floor should be quite empty. Better take some mates with you - you'll feel less self-conscious.
I remember how it took me quite a long while to get back into dancing once I
got my wheelie - everything seemed so awkward. I was very clumsy with it, as well. But
after a few private parties I felt fine about taking my wheels for a waltz. You can either
do the Damon Hill - race about the floor in rhythm with the music, going for tight eights
or spirals, or do a double. It works both with another wheelchair user or an able bodied
friend: just swing each other around. You do not need a lot of strength or any special
co-ordination skills - just do what feels good. Once the dance floor fills up, you'll
probably find it easier to more or less sit in one spot and use your arms, hands, face or
upper body to swing along. It is easy to dance - no-one has a right to tell you what you
You can connect to music , just as everyone else does. If you still feel self-conscious, look at some of the guys and gals on the floor for a while - they might be able bodied (some of them), but that doesn't mean that they are any more graceful than you.
If you want to to know about my version of "disability dance" you are at the right place. If you are looking for 'suffering' dearies or hero tales, go away and check out some weepy pages. Enjoy yourself!
Petras page: Cripps Dance!
Charlene Curtiss--Joanne Petroff
1520 32nd Avenue South Seattle, WA 98144 (206) 328-0818
Light Motion is a dance company, established in 1988, to develop the artistic expression of both disabled and non disabled artists working together to enhance community awareness of disability issues through the arts.
"Charlene Curtis is a dancer and choreographer, and a paraplegic. When I first saw her perform, I was intrigued with how she had taken dance in a direction I had never seen before. We worked together to make photos that captured something of her graceful movements and unique take on the medium." D-Plummer
Photograph © Doug Plummer
Background Wheelchair Dancer
image stolen from E=Motion Dance Company and then altered.
We are all in this dance of life, this Rhythm Of God, together.
God Is Rhythm Rhythm Is God God Is Rhythm Rhythm Is God God Is Rhythm Rhythm Is God