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Dancers’ Ball Lets Dancers in Wheelchairs Return to Dance

By: Nina Huang

Imagine gliding across the floor, leaping like a graceful swan, until CRACK, and you drop to the floor in pain. Would you be able to dance again? As you lie worrying in your hospital bed, a doctor comes in and tells you that you can walk, but you can never dance again. No! Dance was your number-one focus and now you’ve lost it forever. What could be worse? Now stop imagining, and let’s get back to the real world. There are dancers who have actually lost their ability to dance and must sit in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. But fortunately, a wonderful program has allowed disabled dancers to feel like they are dancing again—in fact, thanks to this program, dancers in wheelchairs actually can dance.

Dance Mobility's Adapted Ballroom Dance Competition

This competition is specifically for disabled dancers, so they can return to the way it feels to dance. “Representation matters, to be seen matters, to go into a room and see people that look like you is important,” Cheryl Angelelli, a quadriplegic, said. Disabled girl Eve Dahl gets ready for the event and wears a huge smile the whole way. Yes, presentation is very important—even in a wheelchair. Eve says that the 7-hour drive to the competition was so worth it. “I've really never had an opportunity to dance in an environment that's suited for somebody like me — I’ve always been dancing with able-bodied people — so I'm excited that I'm going to be able to find people who know how to direct me and adapt,” Dahl says. “It's that kind of special environment that's curated for you.” The event makes dancers feel like they can breathe and let themselves go free. It makes dancers feel like the olden days when they were not disabled. Women and men are crying, and an onlooker Robin Wooten wipes away tears when she sees a couple who just got married dancing on the floor.

Dance Mobility's Adapted Ballroom Dance Competition is an amazing organization that supports disabled dancers and lets them feel free, like dancers again—because they are dancers, even though they are in wheelchairs.

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