Wheelchair Dancing!

Hey, guys! I’m really excited about this post 😊 I’ve been doing a deep dive into disability culture recently and I’ve absolutely loved what I’ve found. There are so many different ways to create art: there are mouth and foot painting artists (I’m one myself because I can only type, write, and draw with a pen in my mouth), entire bands of people who play instruments like the drums, guitar, and piano with their feet, and people who tie film cameras around their heads to shoot incredibly creative films without any limbs. I’ve seen record-breaking race car drivers who drive with their feet and amazing archers who do the same. But a recent part of disability culture that I’ve truly come to love is wheelchair dancing.

Me drawing with a pencil in my mouth

If you know me, you know that I absolutely adore dancing. I find it to be such a powerful form of expression and it can easily move me to tears if it’s filled with enough emotion to do so. I know lots of different types of street, ballroom, contemporary, and Latin dances (Argentine Tango is probably my favourite. The intimacy and complex leg work in that one is simply *chef’s kiss*) as well as the official terms for some of the moves. I used to be a part of a dance group in Primary School when I was still able to walk and we would perform at different school events. I don’t think I was very good but it was always really fun!  

Picture of a girl dancing freely by Diego Rosa via Unsplash.com

After I became a permanent wheelchair-user, I told myself that I’d never dance in public again. I would feel such a longing when I saw others dance and wanted that freedom of movement and expression back more than anything. I am a little more comfortable dancing in front of others now but I’m still quite shy about it and it isn’t the same anymore. However, I dance every day in my room when I’m alone because I love how it makes me feel. When I’m dancing – I’m flying. I feel so free and connected to myself as every move causes the world to slowly melt away around me.

Everything changed once I saw wheelchair dancing for the first time on YouTube. Now I like to choreograph ways to incorporate my chair into dances like the Viennese Waltz and the Paso Doble in my mind as I sway around my room (I just wish I had someone to dance and try them out with!) It truly inspired me to think about different creative ways that I could move my body in order to dance. I feel even more relaxed dancing in front of others and I also have something new to look forward to: I hope one day to try out wheelchair dancing. I just have to find someplace in The Netherlands where it’s practised. I think it would be an amazing experience.

Below are three different one-minute videos of wheelchair dancing that I picked to share. My favourite wheelchair dancers are Marisa Hamamoto and Piotr Iwanicki so I just had to share their work, but I’ll also share links to some other dancers afterwards. I hope that you’ll enjoy them! 😊

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The first is an emotional contemporary dance. I love the emotion and intimacy in this one:

The second is slightly more unique and alternative, and also features a group dance with other wheelchair-users at the end. I feel as if it truly embodies the term ‘disability culture’ and expression:

The last is another contemporary one. It’s a two-minute video but I made sure that the video would start halfway through so it’s still just a one-minute clip of the dance. I like the lifts in this one:

Marisa and Piotr aren’t the only wheelchair dancers out there though. There are so many different wheelchair dance videos on YouTube which I think deserve way more views considering how talented the dancers are. In case you’re interested – here is a dance where the woman is the wheelchair-user and the man is the able-bodied dancer because it works just as well that way around too: (280) BELIEVER: Wheelchair dancer defies gravity – YouTube, here is an extremely emotional wheelchair dance between two men: (280) “What About Us” Marc Lafleur & Dmitry Kim – YouTube, and this is a group dance with hundreds of disabled dancers: (280) Official #InfiniteInclusion Flashmob by Infinite Flow A Wheelchair Dance Company – YouTube. The possibilities are limitless.

Wheelchair dancing doesn’t even have to be between an able-bodied dancer and a wheelchair dancer: I’ve also seen dances between two wheelchair dancers which is really cool because they can hold hands and spin around each other so fast as they go under each other’s arms and turn around. They sometimes move so swiftly that it can be hard to keep track of! There are also some examples of this on YouTube.

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I hope that you enjoyed this post about a taste of disability culture! Which dance was your favourite? I plan on doing more posts like this in the future: what part of disability culture would you be interested to hear me talk about next – music or art? Thank you so much for reading ❤ See you soon!

146 thoughts on “Wheelchair Dancing!

  1. Wow Simone, these are so amazing and I love dancing too like you know and those videos are so inspiring just like you are! It’s amazing what we can do when we discover we have no other choice. Blows me away how good people are with their feet.❣️❣️❣️ my extent is picking up clothes with my toes.. lol. Happy Sunday💖

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    1. I agree – I find it fascinating when we discover how much we are capable of, all by thinking about things in a different way. I’m glad that you found these to be inspiring. I find that I like to watch them when I’m low or seeking creativity for something like a story or poem I’m writing. XD Don’t worry – picking up clothes with your toes actually sounds very impressive! XD Happy Sunday to you too! 💚🌻💚

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  2. Hi Simone. This is my first visit to your blog; I did a search for ‘contemprary dance’ and there you were. My own contemporary dance journey began 34 years ago when I started secondary school in the UK. I completely fell in love with contemporary and danced as much as I could. A few years later I was privileged enough to take part in a workshop with one of the founding members of Candoco Dance Company, an early inovator in inclusive dance, and then saw them perform – my mind was blown! They were incredible and are still going strong; if you haven’t seen their work I thoroughly recommend it (https://candoco.co.uk/). Fast forward a few more years and I worked as a teaching assistant with children who had a wide variety of educational and physical needs before becoming a drama and contemporary dance teacher in schools. I always promoted the idea that dance isn’t about becoming a prima ballerina but it is about the joy of movement, exploring your physical capabilities, a sense of freedom and learning about yourself amongst many other amazing things. Thank you for such a wonderful post (I’m so glad I came across it) and for introducing me to Infinite Flow Dance Company; there’s some beautiful choreography in the pieces you’ve shared. I dearly hope you return to dancing; there’s no feeling quite like it.

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    1. Hello! It’s a pleasure to meet you 😊 I apologise for taking so long to respond to your lovely, wonderful comment – I’ve been taking a month’s break from my blog to make some changes to the site to make it more accessible. I’m so glad that you stumbled across this post and that you enjoyed it so much! Thank you for introducing me to Candoco Dance – I’ve been spending some time watching their performances and listening to them talk about their projects. I absolutely love the organization. Their dances are so creative and like nothing that I’ve ever seen before. It’s further proof that there are so many different ways to dance and express passion through movement. Thank you for also sharing your dance journey with me – you must’ve met a lot of children like me during your teaching assistant job. I wholeheartedly agree – dance is much more about joy, exploration, and freedom rather than perfect form. I hope that I’ll be able to return to dancing too – it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced. I’m also so happy that you came across this post. I hope that I’ll share another post in the future that you’ll be interested in too. Once again, I’m so sorry for the delayed response. I’m usually very quick with responding 😊❤😊❤

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    1. I know – all of them were quite amazing! I’m really glad that you enjoyed them 😊 I’ll explain further later but I found out that a lot of my old posts weren’t very accessible to certain disabled users and I thought it was very important to spend some time changing and updating all of them to be as accessible as possible before I posted anything new. As a disability blogger myself – I took changing my site to make it as accessible as possible very seriously. All is well though and I’m finally finished with all of the changes! Thank you for caring and making sure I was okay. I look forward to returning to reading your incredible posts ❤

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing these videos. You are absolutely right, the dancing was beautiful. I was transfixed by their moves and their chemistry as a duo. It was amazing!

    Dancing is such a wonderful expression of creativity and passion. I hope you can find a place to dance and people to dance with. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re welcome – I’m so glad that you enjoyed these dances! 😊 It was honestly my pleasure to share them since I love them so much. They do make an amazing duo and their beautiful and flowing movements are almost hypnotizing. They took me to another world. I hope that I can find a place to dance too – it’s one of my favourite things to do ❤

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    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed these dances so much! I felt extremely happy to share them since they were dances that I felt as if the world should see. Anyday when someone learns about wheelchair dancing for the first time is a good day 😊 Me too! Thank you so much, Lisa, have a wonderful weekend 🥰

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