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Wheelchair dancing

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Wheelchair dancing is a popular social and recreational activity, with more than 5,000 dancers in over 40 countries. The physical benefits of wheelchair dancing is to assist with the maintenance of physical balance, flexibility, range of motion, coordination, and it enhances respiratory control. The psychological effects of ballroom dancing is social interaction and the development of relationships. For social dancers, it is an opportunity to engage in a fun and a friendly event with others. For competitors, it assist in the development of fair play, sportsmanship and communication skills. Wheelchair dancing is an activity that integrates a wheelchair user and able-bodied person.

In February, 2008 the University of Delaware Collegiate DanceWheels Program was created to instruct students in wheelchair dancing. This is the first accredited course of its kind in the United States. The program was developed in conjunction with the American DanceWheels Foundation through a $10,000 Quality of Life Grant from The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Wheelchair dancers participate in combi-style dancing with an able-bodied partner or duo dance with two wheelchairs. Standard dances include the waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot and quickstep. Latin-American dances include the samba, cha-cha-cha, rumba, paso doble and jive. In 1977, the first international competition in Wheelchair Dance Sport was governed by the International Paralympic Wheelchair Dance Sport Committee (IPWDSC) following the modified rules of the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF) and is widely practiced by athletes in many countries.

Melinda Kremer and Ray Leight are the creators of American DanceWheels. They have been developing and performing Wheelchair partner dancing for almost five years and have received national recognition for their innovative style, artistry, and presentation.

Ray and Melinda are the first and current United States wheelchair dancesport competition champions.