Accessible Dance and the Kehl School of Dance in Madison

Accessible Dance and the Kehl School of Dance in Madison

In all the years since its founding in 1880, there was something Madison’s Kehl School of Dance had never tried teaching: wheelchair dance. That changed in 2014. For the first time, led by instructor J. Matzner, children and adults who use walkers and wheelchairs could take “sitting” ballet.

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Wheelchair dance in Appleton, Wisconsin

Wheelchair dance in Appleton, Wisconsin

The people who attend her dances may have very limited ability to move their bodies. Some can’t move at all on their own. But they might be able to show they’re enjoying themselves by smiling, or nodding their head, Saltigerald said.

Over the past three years, the Appleton, Wisconsin resident has organized a series of free dance parties for people who use wheelchairs and walkers, accompanied by caregivers and family members.

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Brookfield Center for the Arts and Wheelchair Dance

Brookfield Center for the Arts and Wheelchair Dance

In 2013, the Brookfield Center for the Arts debuted a creative movement class for kids with Down Syndrome and other cognitive delays. In 2016, this dance school in Brookfield, Wisconsin, leapt ahead again, allowing two girls who use wheelchairs to enroll in regular dance classes. Both girls went on to perform in a schoolwide recital, alongside their “standing” classmates.

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Wheelchair Dance Comes to Wisconsin

Wheelchair Dance Comes to Wisconsin

The idea that everyone can dance, regardless of physical limitations, is finally taking root here in Wisconsin. This introduction to our four-part series looks at where wheelchair dance began decades ago, and where it’s headed since.

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