This is a Case Study from a participant of Para Dance UK’s inclusive dance sessions funded by Sport Birmingham.
Kathy, 54 years
I have always been a sporty person throughout my life and found movement of my body to music a joy to do from the early age of 3 years old when my mum put me in ballet classes. I have done Batton Twirling though my teenage year and represented Great Britain, then I had my life change after my accident, but still found I could do sport in a wheelchair that was still just as uplifting playing Basketball & Rugby both at GB level until my condition made it too difficult for me to carry on.
I have hEDS with added spinal injuries at multiple levels which effects my legs, neck, arms, hands, core control and breathing difficulty making me oxygen dependent. I have been a fulltime wheelchair user since 1996 when I started chair life in a manual progressing to a power chair since 2013 as I have deteriorated in my movement abilities in my arms and hands due to my C-spinal injuries.
I have now been doing dance since 2018 when a friend invited me to come and give wheelchair dancing a go, as after I had to give up my previous sports, I had developed depression with the lack of ability to due sports.
During this time, I have enjoyed being with people again after the past year COVID19 as in dance I have a great group of friends, love the atmosphere of excitement and sense of belonging along with learning new dance moves which gives me an adrenaline rush I use to have. When I am dancing my everyday world of stress disappears the world where I dance is calm and this help me get through the rest of the week.
The biggest reason I carry on doing wheelchair dancing is my love to try all the different styles, finding my wow factor dance style of Ballroom enjoying the technical part of the moves but still being able show my feelings along with the social side of having friends from my group and all over the UK, it’s like having a large family.
Over the past month taking part in the Para Dance UK inclusive dance sessions I have really enjoyed getting back to having the challenge again and having the time to be with people knowing that it was a controlled environment and that my dance instructor was understanding in how people felt. She has made it fun to learn new dances giving everyone a chance of expressing their dance and especially allowing me to dance within my limitations and changing abilities. I have found a sport that I can carry on doing even though I have a degenerate condition. I have found dance again which gives me a way to show emotions without breaking down into tears because I find it is no longer a thing that I cannot do but where EVERYONE CAN DANCE no matter how your body moves as long as you enjoy the music and movement, the company you’re in, have the enjoyment of dancing and realise that any movement you can portray can be a form of dance.
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