When I was young, I always wanted to dance. I danced in my room, backyard, in front of the television, and wherever I could without driving my parents, brother, and our poor dog crazy. Music was always important to me, and it still is today.
I finally took my first, official dance class two years ago. I looked around, eyeing up the other (much younger) participants, but my nervousness and awkwardness soon dissipated and wow… what a release! Dance is a great outlet for anyone, even for individuals who use scooters or power wheelchairs. Research shows that dance can be a HUGE stress reliever—and it’s an excellent workout too!
Please keep in mind that it took me about 20 years to get myself out on the dance floor for a class. If you feel more content expressing yourself through dance in the comfort of your own home, there are some great adapted dance DVDs online. Check Jody Stolove’s Chair Dancing ® videos at http://www.chairdancing.com/. This woman has been dancing for a long time, and you may have heard about her videos on the Today Show or The View. She is certainly the guru of chair dancing!
Another video you may want to try out is Chair BellyDance for Everyone ®. This creative dance DVD will help strengthen your arms, back, and core. Belly dancing is one of those activities that I would like to practice in the confines of my home, just for the sake of others. More and more people are beginning to delve in this intriguing art and reaping the health benefits!
The American Dance Wheels Foundation is a wonderful organization that helps individuals with disabilities express themselves “through Ballroom or Latin dancing”. They have many locations throughout the United States, including Delaware, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey to name a few. They focus on “wheelchair partner” dancing with assistance from partners who are physical or occupational therapists, and ballroom dance teachers.
There are adaptive dance programs sprouting up throughout the United States. Search for a program in your area and see what all the buzz is about. Please check with your doctor before you consider a new physical activity. There is something extraordinary about exercise and freedom in movement. Music always has a way of suppressing negative thoughts and exercise just makes you feel good. There is no better combination!