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Author: admin (Read all)Published: 1989 Reads
Welcome to our website. Wheelchair dancing started in Scotland in the early 60s at one of Capability’s schools, then known as Scottish Council for Spastics, from lessons designed to assist new wheelchair users, learn how best to control their wheelchairs. Initially drill like basic moves were used, such as forward, back, left and right to encourage everyone to be uniformed and precise in their movement which led to the use of music, and quickly evolved into wheelchair dancing.

They started using recognised, simple and slow dances, such as the Gaelic Waltz, which was relatively easy to reconstruct for wheelchair users, keeping the original dance movements the same, as much as possible.  More complex and varied dances were then introduced,  like Strip the Willow, Virginia Reel and other well-known reels, all of which are now known as set dances.  Team teachers/leaders are also now encouraged to develop and produce dances to music of their own choice.


In 1968 wheelchair dancing was introduced to other schools and centres as a leisure activity.  The first Wheelchair Dance Festival was held in 1971 at the Hammersmith Palais.  Since then the choices of dances and sections has increased to include teams, couples and individual dancers with teams from throughout Great Britain competing.


The Wheelchair Dance Association was officially formed in 1974 with its prim aim to promote dancing in all its forms and organise festivals for competition. Over the years ability sections were introduced for ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ category, ‘A’ being for those with very good wheelchair control and ‘C’ for those with poorer control.  The competitions include set dances, formation, novelty, national, ballroom couples, individual freestyle and increasingly PHAB formation and PHAB couples. All ages and abilities are welcome.


Scotland formed its own Region in 1980, remaining affiliated to the WDA which now has two regions, Scotland and England, with individual and teams members living as far apart as Inverness in the north to Newquay in the south.  WDA and SWDA each hold a bio annual competition which are a wonderful way of celebrating dancing and meeting up with friends, old and new.


If you would like further information on SWDA, wheelchair dancing or local teams please contact our Scottish secretary:

Mr Walter Campbell Cairns,

email walter.swda@hotmail.com or 07583026166


Happy dancing,

Cath Caskie Khan, Chairperson

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