Vodafone Malta foundation supports international Malta open dance spectacular

Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 17:04

The Vodafone Malta Foundation will be supporting the fifth edition of the International Malta Open Dance Spectacular, a two-day event organised by the Malta Wheelchair Dancesport Association (MWDA). The event, the second largest competition of its kind in the world, is taking place on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th November at the new University Sports Hall in Msida.

In the past, the event has been shown on Dutch television and BBC Television programme “Blue Peter”.

Tickets can be bought at the door at €12 each. Children under 10 years of age are free of charge. The competitions start at approx 2.00p.m daily. Doors open at 12.30p.m.

Wheelchair dancing has been practised for over 27 years in different parts of the world, but it started to feature on the Malta scene in 1999. Later, the Malta Wheelchair Dancesport Association was set up in 2001 with the aim of teaching people in wheelchairs to dance in a similar format to non-disabled people.

MWDA President Pippa Roberts said that her goal was to ensure integration at a maximum level, so she kept dances in line with those for the non-disabled. Participants, therefore, also practised line dancing and solo dancing, which can be used socially.

Wheelchair dancing holds many benefits for participants, as may be evidenced by the looks of satisfaction on the dancers’ faces. The wheelchair user can express the feeling of dance which has nothing to do with the use of the person’s legs. Through the wheelchair and the use of arms and other parts of the body, movement is made in the same way as with non-disabled people. Moreover, participation on a social level, helps a person gain confidence and enjoy connecting with other people. It also helps strengthen muscles as dancers do not realise they are using their bodies, as it is so enjoyable.

The Dance Spectacular gives Maltese wheelchair dancers the opportunity to compete with foreign dancers without the expense of traveling abroad. This competition educates the general public, shows the ability as opposed to the disability of wheelchair users and integrates all dancers, non-disabled and disabled, in a competition atmosphere, as non disabled Ballroom & Latin American competitions run side by side with Wheelchair Ballroom & Latin American competitions.

Wheelchair dancing is a sport and art that promotes social integration, whereby the non-disabled person may get to know the wheelchair user as a person rather than as somebody with a disability. Vodafone Malta Foundation Chairperson Gemma Mifsud Bonnici praised the Malta Dancesport Association’s enthusiasm. “The Foundation has supported this event since its inception. Such events help to eliminate many misconceptions about the abilities of wheelchair users and have the added advantage of encouraging new friendships.”

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