Para dance sport breaks new ground in USA

Applications now open for first intro course to be held in the Americas 27 Apr 2018
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a male and female Para dance couple
Cheryl Angelelli (R) and partner Tamerlan Gadirov will lead the USA's first intro course
ⒸDanceSport Photography

"We know there are plenty of untapped talents in the USA and lots of people with an impairment interested in Para dance sport. Like every athlete, they need the right training and right support to excel."

Para dance sport is breaking into new territory in the Americas with an education course coming to the USA, and the sport’s international federation World Para Dance Sport has opened the application process for interested participants.

World Para Dance Sport, in collaboration with Fred Astaire Dance Studio-Bloomfield Hills, will host the Introductory Course to Para Dance Sport from 23-24 June in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Designed for individuals interested in coaching and dancing, the course will introduce the basics of the sport – including its history and exponential growth, the different dancing styles, wheelchair techniques and skills, and judging criteria. Participants will then get to put their knowledge into practice on the dance floor.

Camila Rodrigues, World Para Dance Sport Manager, said: “This was a long time coming, and we are excited to finally hold this course and further help the development of Para dance sport in the Americas region.

“Many of our high-performance athletes are concentrated in Europe and Asia, and we saw that at the 2017 World Championships last October in Malle, Belgium. But we also know there are plenty of untapped talents in the USA and lots of people with an impairment interested in Para dance sport. Like every athlete, they need the right training and right support to excel. But first, they need the opportunity to practice, and this introductory will hopefully open up more opportunities in the Americas.”

Four-time Paralympic swimming medallist Cheryl Angelelli and partner Tamerlan Gadirov will lead dancing demonstrations and teach the different techniques and skills.

Angelelli, who trains at Fred Astaire Dance Studio-Bloomfield Hills with instructor Gadirov, helped co-found the studio’s Dance Mobility programme, and competed at her first World Para Dance Sport-sanctioned competition last year in Frankfurt, Germany, with Gadirov.

Angelelli said the introductory course has a two-part purpose.

“We hope this course is a launching pad to get more people trained and also help them start a programme like our Dance Mobility programme,” Angelelli said. “It’s great that they will have the training, but the next step is how do they connect with that population in the communities where they live?

“The first part is educating teachers how to work with individuals with disabilities, and the second part is talking to these teachers and studio owners how they can start a programme like ours.”

Maricarmen Legaspi from Mexico will serve as the lead instructor of the course. Legaspi serves on World Para Dance Sport’s Sport Technical Committee, and has helped the development of the Mexican Para dance team, which took five medals including one gold at the 2017 World Championships.

Twenty-five slots are available in the course, which is open to interested participants from other countries. The deadline to submit applications is 20 May. The application form is available here.

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