Thameside Wheelchair Dancing
Annual Report 2013
'Another Year On'
"A happy start for 2013"
2013, although different to previous years, proved to be a busy year. Unfortunately Kingsdown School was reorganised to accommodate a smaller and younger age group, who could not operate the dance chairs, so we lost the after school club. There is however a strong hope of a grant so that we can organise the purchase of smaller chairs.
We did however continue with our adult class, a group from a care home, and spent a lot more time travelling and promoting wheelchair dancing.
We started in January with a disability awareness day in Basingstoke, followed by an opportunity to attend a local CAVS meeting in Hadleigh to introduce ourselves and our activities, which will help with publicity in South East Essex.
Holland Dans Spektakel 2013
Early in the year we prepared for our annual Easter visit to Holland for the Cuijk Dans Spektakel. We entered three couples in eight events and achieved five finals with improved results.
James Ireland and Francesca Goodwin
View the full report for more information and photos
After Cuijk, we, set about preparing for a very busy period in June and July.
Mid June we visited Holy Trinity Primary School in Dartford, an able bodied school, as part of their Disability Awareness Week. Each day, different disability organisations encourage the children to take part and understand the difficulties people with disabilities.
We spent a half day demonstrating and working with the children and the staff. It was so successful we have been asked to attend the next event for a whole day, to provide more time for participation.
For more details and photographs, see the full report.
Later in June we travelled to Telford, for our sixth visit to The Mobility Road Show.
It is a three day event providing all forms of practical, social and technical support, for people with all forms of disability. We had a stand displaying photographs, videos and information, supported by demonstrations and public participation in the sports arena. You can read the full report here. After the show we dismantled the stand, packed the car and set off to Manchester.
THE MANCHESTER GRAND PRIX OPEN INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
This year, the third Grand Prix Championship has grown in international status with representatives from ten countries, providing a high standard of wheelchair dancing.
Francesca and June Goodwin
Thameside entered a couple in two events, achieving a second and silver medal for Francesca Goodwin in the Combi and Duo Debutante Class 1. For more details and photographs, see the report.
We settled down to our local activities and a quieter period through July and August with time to prepare for another busy program for the end of the year.
RETURN VISIT TO GUERNSEY
In September we were invited back to Guernsey to reinforce the activities of our earlier visit. This was very encouraging because the first group had managed to acquire the help of a dance teacher with enthusiasm for wheelchair dance. This year we travelled by car and hydrofoil so that we could take four wheelchairs. We ran two workshops at a large nursing home, which hoped to continue the activity for its residents. We have heard since that wheelchair dancing is being continued and the teacher, who runs a form of Come Dancing event each year, hopes to introduce a wheelchair dance couple in the next event. We look forward to hearing of more success in the future.
WDA SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIPS
We have been asked to adjudicate the WDA 2014 National Championships, so we decided to attend the Scottish Championships, to observe the type and standard of dance at WDA events.
We decided to stay at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel, the venue for the event, so that we could meet the dancers and organisers. The event was well organised and supported by many dancers and dance teams.
A large portion of the program is based upon team or group dancing. Selected dance scripts and routines for specific numbers of dancers, with supporting music, are provided in advance. Some dances have changes in rhythm, which must also be observed. There is a limited amount of individual and single couple events.
A number of teams with a mixture of disabilities and chairs had difficulty in maintaining the timing. The dancing is certainly different to our activities and depends upon clubs having sufficient numbers to enter all events. A large percentage of the year must be devoted to preparing the set dances for the competitions.
We were made very welcome and we enjoyed our weekend. Although different to our activities it was great to see so many people with disabilities, enjoying music and dance. Well done WDA.
Phab SOUTH AND EASTERN REGION
Once again we were invited to The Phab Get Together Weekend in Chichester. The event, over three days, is supported by Phab members from all over the south, all accommodated in one hotel, whose staff work so hard to ensure success.
A program of meals, workshops, training and social activities is set for each day. The difficulty is in choosing which activity to attend. We provided a variety wheelchair and line dance sessions with lots of participation. On the Saturday social evening, dancers are able to demonstrate their achievements. This was our third Phab event and we are getting know so many people. It is a wonderful weekend which we look forward to be doing again.
CHELMSFORD DISCOVERY FESTIVAL
Chelmsford City Council promoted a Discovery Festival Week to promote disability awareness. Each day throughout the week, different groups and organisations provided stands and workshops throughout Chelmsford.
High Chelmer Shopping Centre
Thameside provided a stand in High Chelmer Shopping Centre for a day, with a demonstration and public participation every hour. It was a long and tiring day but very worthwhile and successful. We have been asked to assist in other future activities.
It was another busy year, but must be considered to have been successful and worthwhile.
Geoff Howlett and Margaret Brix (Thameside)
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