Dancing on Wheels

I can’t resist a bit of sparkle and a princess-like dress. Point me in the direction of a feathery and sequin bejewelled outfit and I’m there! But that’s not the only reason I love the TV series Dancing on Wheels. What I really adore is how this  wheelchair sport is getting a chance to air on national TV.

Dancing on Wheels - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Pairing six wheelchair users with able-bodied celebrities, all possessing some dancing experience, the couples fight it out to win a place in the Wheelchair Dance Sport European Championships. Despite originating here, the UK has never participated in the competition before and although this sport is well recognised abroad, it would be great to revitalise its presence in the UK.

If you haven’t been watching the show then here’s the line-up:

James O’Shea and presenter Caroline Flack

Diana Morgan-Hill and Olympic swimmer Mark Foster

Harry Maule and singer/actress Michelle Gayle

Paul Jacob and singer Heather Small

Simone Milani and Hollyoaks actor Kevin Sacre

Carolyne Underwood and rugby player Martin Offiah

For those of you who are fans of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, you’ll be sold on this show, as many of its favourite faces make an appearance. Brain Fortuna (the American who was paired with Ali Bastian on last year’s Strictly, in case you weren’t sure!), leads the wheelchair dancing choreography having been a teacher of the sport for eight years. Following in his mothers footsteps he says “it was something that really touched my life and opened my eyes.” Now that’s a little fact that has made him grow in my estimation, that along with his slightly foul-mouthed, quick-quipped New York style of teaching!

Brian Fortuna - Dancing on Wheels - image - inspiremagazine.wordpress.com

Assisting him in teaching is Kristina Rihanoff (who famously danced with John Sergeant), with husband and wife team Ola and James Jordan, and athlete, presenter and wheelchair user Ade Adepitan judging the proceedings.

Dancing on Wheels - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Leaving no dance untouched, the contestants have tackled routines from the sambe to the Viennese waltz, and the foxtrot to the tango. Far from wheelchair dancing being less beautiful than the traditional form, Ade asserts “wheelchair ballroom dancing has the potential to look as spectacular as regular ballroom dancing. Here you’ve got the best of both worlds, wheels and feet, it’s so inclusive, that’s the exciting thing about it.”

I’ve personally been blown away by some of the dancing moments, like Mark lifting and spinning Di round in her chair, or Michelle gliding along on the back of Harry’s. I love the idea that this show is challenging people’s perceptions of wheelchair users and how much you can achieve no matter what your disability. In fact I may be so bold as to admit that I think it’s more enchanting than regular dancing, with its twist on routines you’re really seeing something awe-inspiring.

Dancing on Wheels - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Dancing on Wheels - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

But, I’m afraid there is a but, the format has taken a more dramatic slant than that of Strictly Come Dancing and I’m not sure it’s beneficial. Are they playing a little too much with the idea of shocking the audience? It seems much of the show has focused on the contestants tragic histories and tension rather than the dance. But I suppose everyone likes a bit of drama?

And why is this show only on BBC 3 and not one of the main channels? My guess is that they are waiting to gauge the public’s reaction before taking it mainstream. So come on everyone, show your support, and maybe next year it’ll be on BBC 1 with Bruce presenting! No, strike that, I prefer Tessa!

Want to know who won? Take a look at my review of the Dancing on Wheels final to find out.

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March 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment.

One Comment

  1. wheelchairs replied:

    I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.

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