WHEELING – It was inspiration from Mr. Fred Rogers and his particular TV neighborhood that led to a wheelchair dance class Monday evening in Wheeling.
Members of the Dancing Wheels Firm of Cleveland gave the instruction throughout a “Dance and motion workshop” courses on the Oglebay Institute dance college.
It was open to standing dancers and folks in wheelchairs.
Cheryl Pompeo, director of the Oglebay Institute dance college, stated the wheelchair dancers first captivated her as a toddler as she watched an episode of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood .
“They danced with the Joffrey Ballet… I used to be solely a toddler however I used to be simply in love with them” she says. “I’ve at all times been fascinated and in love with how they’ll coordinate the dancers who’re standing with those that are within the wheelchairs, they usually do essentially the most stunning choreography.
A number of years in the past, she noticed an commercial for the Dancing Wheels Firm of Cleveland Ohio and remembered the troupe. She visited town and determined to go to their studio to see if by any likelihood they had been on tour and will go to the Wheeling space.
She realized that they had been touring.
The Oglebay Institute dance college then acquired a grant from the Nationwide Endowment for the Arts which introduced the Dancing Wheels Firm to the North Panhandle.
They first got here to John Marshall Excessive College final fall for an anti-bigotry presentation titled “Dare to be Dumbo.”
On Monday, Sara Lawrence-Sucato, Director of Outreach and Neighborhood Engagement for the Dancing Wheels Firm, got here to Wheeling for the dance workshop on the Oglebay Institute. She introduced alongside together with her skilled dancer Craig Sams III.
Lawrence-Sucato – who’s a standing dancer – has been with the dance firm for 15 years. She has additionally been a instructor and rehearsal director for the previous 10 years.
“I began to become involved in Dancing Wheels as a result of rising up as a dancer I needed to stay with one thing that I used to be enthusiastic about,” Lawrence-Sucato stated. “I used to be capable of make it my profession and I really feel like I’m giving again to the neighborhood via the work I do. It makes a variety of sense to me.
Wheelchair seated dancer Sams was a visitor artist for Dancing Wheels for 4 years earlier than formally becoming a member of the corporate final yr.
“I’ve been a performer all my life,” he stated. “I’m a singer, songwriter and dancer.
“I like having the ability to specific myself in any method I can.”
Sams could possibly be seen stretching his athleticism earlier than class, reaching the ground and rocking his wheelchair back and forth, then leaning again within the chair.
The wheelchairs utilized by seated dancers are fabricated from aluminum lighter than customary wheelchairs, the dancers defined.
The Oglebay Institute dance college frequently affords a DanceAbility course for these with particular wants. Lots of the individuals are autistic or have a bodily incapacity, based on Pompeo.
“Dancers are dancers” she says. “It doesn’t matter. We’re very inclusive. So long as you’ve got the love and the need to bop, you’ll be able to dance.