A dance in everyone

The Wheelchair Dancers Organization celebrates the human spirit in motion

Photo: David Moe Kara Paulson, who has been in a wheelchair for over 30 years, still loves to dance.

Photo: David Moe
Kara Paulson, who has been in a wheelchair for over 30 years, still loves to dance.

David Moe
Sun City, Calif.

Saturday, November 12, was the fourth annual Dance-Ability Showcase at the Balboa Park Club in San Diego, California. Wheelchair dancers and volunteers performed high energy Tango-Rumba Dance routines, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Latin, and Contemporary Dances before a crowd of people. In addition, there was an all-inclusive Flash Mob Dance for all to participate.

The Wheelchair Dancers Organization is a non-profit charity that provides Adaptive Dance Programs in Ballroom, Latin, and Contemporary instruction for people of all ages and abilities. Beverly Weurding, founder and CEO of WDO, continued her dream of dancing after she was diagnosed with a muscular degenerative disease called Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. With financial support from individual donors, sponsors, and Sharp Grossmont Hospital Foundation, they will continue to provide weekly dance classes to over 250 wheelchair users and their dance partners each year.

Our eldest daughter, Kara, who has been in a wheelchair for over 30 years, has been active with this group for the past several years. As a young girl, she had dreams of becoming a dancer, after seeing The Nutcracker Suite in San Francisco when she was four years old. However, she had an automobile accident two months after she was married and has been in a wheelchair since that time. The good news is that she had two children, both graduated from college and now married, and she is still married.

There is also an organization in San Diego called Women on Wheels, sponsored by Sharp Rehabilitation Services, that strives to empower women with disabilities by offering group meetings with social workers, peer support, lectures, and social events.

The human spirit is powerful and manifests itself through these women on wheels. As one of the instructors said, “There’s a dance in everyone.”

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.