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Wheelchair dancing with the stars

  • Posted on Dec 7, 2016

Since I was a child I have always wanted to find a sport that was physically challenging but not too dangerous where I would break my bones, I tried gymnastics and dance but I could only go so far with them. Over the years I tried many sports but none were physically challenging enough. After a while I got caught up in education and work so didn’t have time for sports.

After watching the 2012 Paralympics I set myself a goal to find a sport I can do and enjoy. Three years later and I still hadn’t gone to any open sessions but after attending the BBS Voice 2015 Calvert Trust Kielder activity weekend it gave me the confidence to actively try new sports. I work at a special needs school where a wheelchair dance teacher gives lessons to the children and after her catching me dancing to the music she advised me to attend the Strictly Wheelchair Dancing classes at the local leisure centre. I did so a few weeks later and met my great dance tutor Ray Bulpitt who has been an established dance practitioner for 35 years, a brilliant instructor and reputable competition judge. I quickly realised that I loved the sport for more than just exercise and to reach my full potential I started to use one of their dance manual sports wheelchairs which meant I was able to build up my strength and confidence to use a manual wheelchair again.

“After attending the BBS Voice 2015 Calvert Trust Kielder Activity weekend it gave me the confidence to actively try new sports.”

image4I started competing less than a year after joining SWD and recently got my first gold medal at the British Open Inclusive DanceSport Championship last month in Stevenage. Currently, I am working hard to hopefully compete in the next large wheelchair dance competition which will be held in Holland and the first European Open Inclusive Dance Championship next year in Manchester. Hopefully, at some point in the future, the sport will be part of the Paralympics which would be amazing. I think this is a brilliant sport for anyone with OI of all ages as we have students from teenagers right up to those past retirement age. It’s a great work out and competitive but not an impact sport. Anyone who loves Strictly Come Dancing will love this sport so if you would like to know more please look up Ray Bulpitt.

After posting my achievements of wheelchair dance so many people were surprised that this sport existed, due to this I spoke to my tutor Ray and said if he is available he would be delighted to come to one of our conferences to teach wheelchair dance. You can never learn too many sports. I say this because I recently joined Manchester City’s Wheelchair Football Club and Disability Snowsport UK.