Why everyone can dance!

Iain Richards, Media and Marketing Officer of the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK), discusses why the activity is accessible to everyone and why the organisation's mission is to make dancing fun and exciting for all.

Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (WDSA) (UK) aims to promote and develop wheelchair dancing as a sport and leisure activity across the country. We also want to raise the standard of instruction and competition in the UK and internationally at all levels. 

Taking part in wheelchair dance is beneficial to everyone regardless of age, ability or gender. A session of dancing can get you up and out of the house for a little bit of exercise plus because it is fun and enjoyable, it doesn’t feel like exercise. It also gives you the opportunity to socialise with other like-minded people and meeting new people. 

WDSA (UK) was set up in 2006 and has since been labeled as the national governing body for wheelchair dance sport. We are also recognized by the IPC and British Paralympic Association as a sport. As part of our services we run taster sessions, host regular local dance groups and wheelchair dance instructor training across the UK. 

Our motto is everyone can dance. We believe that everyone should take part in dance and importantly you don’t have to be in a wheelchair to take part. We want to make dancing, in whatever form, fun, exciting and something that individuals who take part in wheelchair dance are proud to say, “I can do that”.  

WDSA Everyone Can Dance  ()

Wheelchair dance can be done as a group activity and we have a page on our website where you can our Find a Group near you. There are also plenty of choreographed dances such as Afrika or Candy, that you can choose from. You can also take part in dance competitions and there are two styles of coupling in wheelchair dance: Combi dancing is where a standing partner and a wheelchair partner dance together; and duo dancing is where two wheelchair partners dance together. 

In October we will be running a national competition in Hertfordshire. For many new grassroots competitors this will be the first time they are able to show off their skills and showcase dances they have learnt from their instructors. There will also be an inclusive dance festival running alongside our national competition for dancers to perform and show people what they can do! 

WDSA (UK) also provides training courses for people to become wheelchair dance instructors as you don’t always have to participate to be involved in our sport. We run the courses from our own centres of excellence based across the country and at other venues regionally. The idea is that people can use their passion for dance to enthuse others. This is a cycle we want to maximise and allow for more participants of wheelchair dance to develop through volunteering and instructor courses. 

WDSA Child Dancing ()

Ten years after WDSA (UK) was set up, we are seeing lots of successes for the association. We have an elite couple competing internationally for ParalympicsGB and there are many new groups being set up as well as lots of instructors joining the sport. Our co-founder, Ruth Boyne, won a League of Mercy award for her services to wheelchair dance and our CEO, Patrick McGeough, received a Torch Trophy Trust award for his services to wheelchair dance and disability sport. On winning his award Patrick said, “I am hugely grateful for this award, I will continue to support wheelchair dance as it is an activity for all disabled people to take part in, because we believe that everyone can dance.” 

Being a part of a local wheelchair dance group means you’re a part of the WDSA (UK) family, a family that believes that everyone can dance. This is why we support the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s campaign to #TryYourKitOn and take part in inclusive sport like dance. Find local groups and more information on our website www.wdsauk.co.uk or email us via info@wdsauk.co.uk

You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter as @WDSAUK or on Instagram as @WDSA_UK. 

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