As a roller I started with Wheelchair Dancers Organization many years ago. “I gained some independence and I think I’ll be a very good dancer with practice. I am looking forward to coming back again and again . . .” My future plans for dancing is to “practice moves at home in case I go to a party. I will come to dance when morning classes are available (throughout the year).” Leah is my sponsor and she sees that my level of fitness is better, I am more hopeful, happier overall, and can’t wait to pursue more dance or recreation classes. My self-esteem is higher and dancing helped me with my eye contact goal; I am always looking forward to more dance moves and seeing my friends.
My favorite dance is the Rumba from our Showcase in 2017 and now I would like to learn Salsa, Swing Dance, and learn dance moves to Michael Jackson songs.
When they asked me for suggestions for improving the format of ballroom dance lessons, “I said, I can’t think of anything to change! I am having so much fun!”
Thank You Leah, Beverly, Jason, Karma and Patee
“When I was 8 years old, my beloved Grandma suffered a stroke that left her unable to speak or walk for the rest of her life. As an Advisory Council member for WDO, I combine my life- long passion for dance with my compassion for people with disabilities and my professional expertise to help WDO get its story out and make a positive difference in more people’s lives.”
“I have made many new friends; and dancing lifts my spirits.”
Sandra Spencer is a below-knee amputee and a faithful member of the Wheelchair Dancers Organization. She often dances in a wheelchair, but also, volunteers as a walking partner for other disabled dancers. She is interested in historic recreation, costuming, embroidery, reading, and she is a politically active. Wheelchair dancing has positively impacted her life.
“It has been a wonderful experience! I am amazed and touched by the wheelchair dancers’ spirit, joy and determination.”
Lou Gullans became inspired to join the Wheelchair Dancers Organization when she saw Beverly Weurding and her partner performing a beautiful waltz. Lou is a semi-retired registered nurse who finds nursing to be a rewarding profession that has brought great joy and satisfaction to her life. When she’s not dancing or working, Lou loves to spend time with her husband, four daughters, nine grandchildren and their cocker spaniel.
“When I’m dancing, I forget about all my pains and problems. Dancing energizes me and provides mental stimulation. The days when I dance are always the highlight of my week!”
Before she retired, Jean owned a ballroom dance studio and taught popular dances to adults and junior high students. As a child, she was a baseball player and often was the only girl on the team. Water skiing, tennis and roller-skate dancing were her sports.
Jean is now 92 years old. At 75, she began to lose her ability to participate in sports. Having two spine operations, a knee replacement, and arthritis have all taken a toll on her body.
In 2015, she attended a wheelchair dancing exhibition in Balboa Park. She liked it and immediately enrolled in a class, quickly learning how to maneuver and dance in a wheelchair.
“My arms and core muscles have become stronger from dancing. I have gained self-confidence and I’m happier and more active in my daily life. Now, I go to social events and dance with everyone. My wheels become my feet, and I dance all night.”
Yolanda Zaldivar, our “Little Speedy” Wheelchair Dancer, is doing well after her hip, knee and femur operations! She has been a member for many years.