Wheelchair User in Dance Class Poses a Challenge

Full BBC News article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17472966


In the UK, a woman in a wheelchair was stopped from attending what would have been her second ballroom class at a local non-profit dance club, because instructors are concerned about insurance and how to safely and effectively teach the steps to someone on wheels. "None of us are trained to teach wheelchair dancing or have any training or experience in how to adapt Lindy Hop to wheelchair dancing," says a teacher from the studio, All Jazzed Up.


Susi Rogers-Hartley, a former Royal Navy communications worker who rode horses and ran marathons before breaking her back in 1998, is  disappointed. "I was bouncing off the walls with excitement about going this Tuesday but then I was told I couldn't attend," she says. "If I can't take any risks I may as well wrap myself in cotton wool and live in a box."


Frustration from both sides is understandable. A person in a wheelchair is entitled to lead as normal a life as she can, but at the same time, having a wheelchair in dance class changes the environment for everyone else there. How do you partner a seated dancer? How do you avoid accidents and run-over toes?


How would you deal with this situation? How do you work to integrate dancers of all abilities into your classroom?


All Jazzed Up has asked Rogers-Hartley to share her ideas on how they might integrate her into the class.




Photo source: http://www.absolutelydancesport.com/page9/page12/page12.html



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