Wheelchair dancing is an activity open to anyone looking for a social, fun way to exercise and celebrate being themselves.
Dancing is an activity loved by many, and wheelchair dancing encourages the joy of movement.You’d be surprised at how much of a workout it can be! Here are some tips to get your groove on with this graceful, stylish sport.
On this page we look at:
- This Girl Can Ambassador Rocca’s story about finding a new way to embrace her love of music and dance with wheelchair dancing
- What is wheelchair dancing?
- Where to try wheelchair dancing near you
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Rocca feels the freedom to be active and happy with wheelchair dancing
Rocca has been in a wheelchair since the age of 25, but she doesn’t see this as a limitation to getting active and feeling good. Rocca’s Latin background is infused with music and dance, so when she couldn’t find a wheelchair dance group, she decided to create one. Her dance club – Dance & Roll – is now getting people with physical disabilities into choreographed moves and exercise through the release of dance. “Dance is a great tool to be active and feel happy…everyone has a right to feel free of their own chains,” Rocca said.
An introduction to wheelchair dancing
Wheelchair dancing is simply a different way of dancing while using a wheelchair. Designed for both independent wheelchair users and those with a carer, it has a wide range of physical and mental benefits.
Wheelchair dancing is also called ‘para dancing’, ‘para dancesport’ and ‘seated dance.’ It was developed in Sweden in 1968. While it started as a way for wheelchair users to stay active and continue enjoying their love of music and dancing, it’s now also a competitive sport with a world championship.
Really, wheelchair dancing is about having a ball, getting active with others and enjoying the moment. It’s very accessible, always open for beginners, and is inclusive and welcoming.
There are lots of wheelchair dancing choreography and styles that can be taught and learned, including ballroom, waltz, tango, and Latin styles like the samba, rumba and jive.
Finding wheelchair dancing lessons in Victoria
If wheelchair dancing sounds like an activity you’d like to try, that’s great! Here are some ways to get involved.
- Para Dancesport provides free information about where to find wheelchair dancing classes near you. It’s also a great place to learn about events you can attend to see some of the pros in action.
- You can find out more about wheelchair dancing and other activities for people with a disability in the Disability Sport and Recreation Victoria website.
- Access for All Abilities also offers resources about getting active for all abilities.
You can also do your own search online to find a dance school or association in your area that offers para dance. There are wheelchair dancing classes for seniors and women of all ages and skill levels.
One of the great things about learning a move or two is you can enjoy wheelchair dancing with a class or group, with a friend, or even on your own. This is time for you – dance whenever you feel the music calling. For those who fall head over heels for it, there are many pathways to ‘go pro’ and try a wheelchair dancing competition!
Wheelchair dancing: how to get involved
- Visit the websites mentioned on this page: Para Dancesport, Disability Sport and Recreation Victoria and Access for All Abilities.
- Google it! Wheelchair friendly sports and activities are offered all over Melbourne and regional Victoria. If there’s not a wheelchair dancing class near you, why not try another activity?
- Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood, to see if a wheelchair dancing program has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
- Ask other women about wheelchair dancing – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.
Can’t get out right now?
If you can’t make it out at the moment, that’s okay. Sometimes there’s enough to keep us busy at home.
You can try searching online for wheelchair dancing classes, check out an online video to learn a few moves, or just dance to some music you love at home.
Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.