If you follow us on Facebook you’ll know that the American Lieutenant and myself recently attended a ballroom dance class for wheelchair users with ‘standing’ partners. It was filmed by the BBC – see the video (spot me & American Lieutenant as the oldest swingers in town). Organised by Rashmi Becker and her partner Nuno Sabroso who have established Step Change Studios. Their idea is that dancing should be a shared experience with able bodied partners of any age and not just a wheelchair sport. We also wrote about this in a previous blog. They believe that dance can help ……

‘manage mental health, develops social interaction, improves fitness and confidence, and increases creativity and imagination.’

It certainly worked for me and the Lieutenant!

Below is our more informal video of the event, showing anyone can take part. It was invigorating and fun; even more enjoyable as your partner was able bodied. We both found it to be great exercise without even trying too hard. I felt I’d achieved something I thought I’d lost years ago i.e. the ability to dance. I did try dancing with another wheelchair partner but needless to say it was a ‘car crash’ and much harder than it looks. In the end I was laughing with joy, with and at other people. It was so invigorating that dancing is now part of my weekly training sessions.

Very importantly, as we don’t just want to socialize with other disabled people, this was an inclusive experience that was shared and laughed about long after the event. I even got Rashmi and Nuno to give a dance class for my guests at my Xmas Fred Astaire party!! Everyone joined in and it’s still being talked about.

I’d never done this before and I can’t wait to try again. Even if you’re shy about your ability you have an able bodied partner to help and the instructors go at a pace anyone can keep up with, whatever the ability. I’m just waiting for classes to be available in W.London and we’ll let you know what happens regarding more classes.

In the meantime you can also contact the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association for classes in your area and the Stopgap Dance Company also promotes inclusive dancing. Let us know your wheelchair dance experiences by contacting us.



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  1. Rashmi

    Thank you for such a lovely piece Fiona. It was wonderful to read your reflections on your dancing experience which captures the essence of what Nuno and I are are trying to achieve through Step Change Studios. The joy, enthusiasm and energy you and your dance partner brought to our class was just fantastic and you’re a great example to others out there who may want to have a go but haven’t quite yet taken that step! We’ll be announcing some free taster sessions shortly, along with regular classes…We want Latin and Ballroom dance to be ‘strictly’ for everyone! Keep dancing.