In Pope Francis’ first time in the United States, the American DanceWheels Foundation (ADF) got a special opportunity to perform for the Pope on 26 September at the Eakins Oval mainstage in Philadelphia, USA.
The ADF formation team, led by Artistic Director Aubree Marchione, performed an exciting Tango centre stage on the Ben Franklin Parkway alongside other artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, The Fray, Jackie Evancho and more.
Donna Crilley, Executive Director for the World Meeting of Families who organised the event, stated the planning committee wanted to ensure that they brought together performers representing the world. The inclusion of ADF in the field of artists marks a significant achievement.
“The World Meeting of Families contacted ADF after hearing about our organisation’s participation in the [Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games] this year. We were local and just the type of entertainment they were looking for,” Marchione said.
The World Meeting of Families, co-sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. It was also an international gathering welcoming Pope Francis to the United States for the first time. The official theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families was “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”
ADF is a non-profit organisation that uses Ballroom and Latin dance to overcome the social barriers between people with and without impairments. For over 10 years, ADF has strived to change the public’s perception through dance education and performances. The performance at the World Meeting of Families helped advance the mission of ADF to alter the worldview.
“ADF was honoured to be included in the lineup of world-class performers participating in this historic event,” said ADF Executive Director Melinda Kremer. “Every day we reconnect family members and friends through inclusive dance. Our programme has the ability to strengthen bonds between people with and without disabilities, symbolising the joy of partnership and creating an understanding between the dance partners without having to say a word.”
The American DanceWheels Formation Team who performed for the Pope included: