Dancing in the wheelchair? Yes for sure!
Waltz, cha-cha-cha, ballet, or urban dance? An insight into the multifaceted world of wheelchair dance.
Exercising and sports activities are important and necessary for both people with and without spinal cord injury. They do not only relieve stress but also have a positive influence on your health. Meanwhile, many types of sport have been developed or adapted specifically for wheelchair users such as athletics, basket ball, rugby and skiing. This contribution takes you to the world of dance.
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body” – Marta Graham
As many other types of sport, dancing is also used for therapeutical purposes. It can influence the cognitive and physical abilities positively. Dancing strengthens the muscle tone and supports a good body posture. Rhythmic movement improves the blood circulation in tendons and ligaments as well as in the brain.
Wheelchair dance sport is a form of art therapy that has existed since the late 1960s. Originally developed for rehabilitation purposes, it developed into a sports discipline with world championships. The Paralympic discipline Para Dance Sport is gracious and elegant; not only the dance itself but also the appearance of the dancers.
At the Para Dance Sport championships, competitors dance in pairs or solo. For the pairs applies either both persons can be wheelchair users or one is a pedestrian. The most common dances are Latin-American dances such as samba, cha-cha-cha, rumba, Paso doble and jive…
... as well as standard dances such as waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, foxtrot and quickstep.
There are, however, many further impressive and creative styles of dancing, e.g. ballet and line dance:
Above all modern styles of dance such as hip-hop, urban dance, modern dance, and contemporary dance are becoming more and more popular:
Currently in Switzerland unfortunately only few associations offer wheelchair dance. The wheelchair club of Solothurn offers Latin-American and standard dances. The club meets for training every Thursday at REHAB in Basel.
The club BewegGrund in Bern also offers dance trainings and workshops. The goal is to bring people with and without disabilities together in the context of cultural projects.
Interested? If so, have a look at the website www.rollstuhltanz.ch (available in German only) or https://www.beweggrund.org/de/int/portrait-of-beweggrund-38.html (partially available in English) or inform yourself at Swiss Paraplegic Association in Nottwil (www.spv.ch/en/).
[translation from the original German blog post]