American DanceWheels Foundation

Home to the first American Style Wheelchair Ballroom & Latin Dance Syllabus

Meet Derrick

Before American DanceWheels came to California to participate in a research study at the Palo Alto VA, I had heard about the organization before and had seen videos of wheelchair ballroom online. I knew it was something I wanted to try it, and it felt like an incredible stroke of luck that I now had the chance.

It was soon after the completion of the summer research study that I took my first teacher training course with American Dancewheels. I wanted to become a better dancer and once I had started I didn't want to stop. The classes had brought everyone so much happiness that I wanted to find a way for it to continue. Completing the teacher training and continuing to hold workshops made that possible. My goals as a dancer and instructor are to continue learning and improving and to encourage others who believe dance is an activity they can't participate in.

When I was applying for the job I have now with the EPA, I was asked to submit a writing sample. I do not recall the exact prompt I was given, but I remember what I wrote. I wrote about the ADF research project I had participated in the summer before and the sense of pride I had rediscovered in myself. I wrote about confronting obstacles, seeking adaptations, and overcoming feelings of defeatism. And I wrote about building relationships and having respect for others. One thing I will always value about dance is that the lessons learned on a dance floor always stay with you.


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