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Posted by Julian Hall (U2873105) on Saturday, 13th March 2010
First off, apologies to anyone who thinks the wording of the topic is crass or offensive. No insult or offence is intended, I just couldn't think of a better way to word it.
I noticed that both contestants who made the final were double leg amputees. This set me to wondering if particular disabilities give an advantage in wheelchair dance. For example, in this case I guess they have more control over their waist muscles than say a paraplegic so in dance their chair control would be better. I think Ade mentioned something along those lines when judging.
For example having full waist control both James and Diana would be able to lean quite far over and sit back up straight. As a wheelchair user with Spina Bifida my waist muscles are shot to hell and if I tried that I'd face-plant on the floor, or if I was belted in I would still need the one hand to pull myself upright. I admit I am not accounting for the issues they would both encounter without the weight of legs to counter-balance the torso. It's just a thought thrown out for consideration.
I recall thinking that only a double leg amputee could have done the handstand James did. A paraplegic certainly couldn't have. That is NOT in any way to criticise - I thought it was a fantastic idea and very well implemented. I can't wait to see what he and Caroline come up with for the competition - or more precisely what Brian comes up with having seen what James can really do when he puts the work in.
Posted by WheeledTraveler (U14197717) on Sunday, 14th March 2010
Most wheelchair dancers I've danced with have had paraplegia or something similar. When I was dancing on the "show team" (we weren't competing as there were no competitions in the US at the time) we had 2 paraplegics (one only 1 or 2 vertebra off being a quad), 1 person with spina bifida, 1 person with something similar to spina bifida, and me with an unknown condition that's either neurological or EDS (or both). I was the most physically able in terms of having use of all my body parts, but I didn't have the upper body strength of almost any of the other dancers and had huge problems with keeping a solid core in ways most of the others didn't. I don't know what their group is made up of now.
Other dancers who were taking classes had Frederich's Ataxia, CP, and various levels of amputation.
I think most competitive wheelchair dancesport dancers are paraplegics, but I could be wrong. Certainly other people I've known of outside American Dance Wheels (the group I danced with) who've done ballroom training for a competitive level (there are some training camps in Poland and a couple Americans have gone over) have all been paras.
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