Homer Avila, Kitty Lunn, Alice Sheppard, Annie Hanauer. They’re all internationally recognized dancers and they’re just as famous for their choreography skills. All of them have either lost a limb or don’t have full mobility in their legs.

If there’s one other thing all four of these giants of the dance world have in common, it’s the way they show us as dancers that anything is possible. With a few tips and tricks for dancing with a disability and some confidence, you can emulate them.

Keep Taking Dance Classes

It’s easy to think you can’t join a dance class if you don’t have full mobility. But that didn’t stop Kitty Lunn from rolling into a dance class after an accident left her in a wheelchair, and it shouldn’t stop you either.  

If you talk with the dance school or instructor of your choice, they can often accommodate you. Some schools even offer seated or integrated dance classes designed for dancers of all abilities. You may need to find accessible transportation and travel a little further to find them, but they’re worth it.

Remember Your Whole Body Is the Instrument

People often think of dance as mere footwork. But any dancer will tell you that it’s one of the few art forms in which your entire body is the instrument. If you don’t have complete mobility in one part of the body, you may still have plenty left to express the mood of the dance.

Rest When Needed

We get it. Dance is your passion, and it can be difficult to hit the pause button. As a dancer with disabilities, you may have the added pressure of feeling like you have to “catch up” to the other dancers. But as we said, your body is your instrument. Taking care of your body is one of the most important things you can do as a dancer.

Look For Examples

One of the biggest things standing in the way of dancers with disabilities isn’t a lack of mobility, but a lack of inspiration. One of the best ways to dance with disabilities is to seek motivation. And the best way to do it is to look to the people who came before you.

Look for videos of other dancers from companies with integrated dance abilities, such as:  

  • Axis Dance Company  
  • Disability Arts International
  • Infinite Flow Dance
  • Remix Dance Company
  • Candoco
  • Kounterclockwise
  • Dancing Wheels

The more you watch, the more you’ll see what’s possible—and the more you’ll realize what you’re capable of.

Jul 22, 2021

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