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Best Life: Expanding dance mobility with waltzing on wheels

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 7:08 AM CDT
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DETROIT (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Its ballroom dancing, on wheels! And it’s hitting dance floors across the country and opening doors to thousands of people who thought they’d never dance again.

For many in wheelchairs, the idea of ballroom dancing may seem impossible. But one woman wants to let everyone know, you don’t have to be able to stand, to waltz, tango, foxtrot or even cha-cha.

Despite being in wheelchairs, these people are determined to dance. Dance mobility was cofounded in 2015 by Cheryl Angelelli, who had a burning desire to share her love of the sport.

“Most people presume because you’re in a wheelchair there are certain things that you can’t do, and I want to show them that anything is possible,” she said.

Anything, even winning an impressive title. She and her partner, Tamerlan Gadirov, won the 2016 Fred Astaire world championships in Las Vegas, with a ‘dirty dancing’ routine.

“I love it, it’s just really thrilling to be able to go to expose people who have never seen wheels for ballroom dancing before,” said Angelelli.

Her partner, Gadirov, expresses that they were the “First representative from the United States and it was a big honor for us.”

Angelelli has had to use a wheelchair since she was in a diving accident as a teen. She competed for 16 years as a Paralympic swimmer, before a Facebook post about a wheelchair dance instructor, piqued her interest.

“It wasn’t until my third lesson that when we started to do some like choreography, and moving across the dance floor that, that’s when I really fell in love with it,” said Angelelli.

Angelelli has expanded dance mobility to six states. More than 50 instructors are now trained in wheelchair partnering, inspiring young and old. Like nine-year-old Zoey, who just wanted to dance with her dad.

“If you wanna dance, do it, ‘cause it’s fun,” she said.

The chairs used for Para dance have special slanted wheels and cost three thousand dollars apiece. A non-profit has funded the classes. You can find out more about the dance classes at www.dancemobility.org.

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Hillary Rubin, Producer; Kenneth LaPlace, Videographer and Roque Correa, Editor.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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