Para Dance Sport World Championships 2019

The Para Dance Sport World Championship was held in Bonn, Germany over the weekend of 29th November – 1st December.

A first time host for Para Dance Sport competition, the home of the International Paralympic Committee was a fitting home for a World Championships. 

In total 26 countries competed comprising 225 athletes competed in 21 medal events.

Great Britain were represented by our own Gary Lyness and Paula Moulton.

Gary and Paula competed in Combi Freestyle on the first day (Friday) and Latin Combi on the Sunday.

The Combi Latin Class 2 was the toughest competition of the three-day championships with 28 couples competing in several rounds of the Latin 5 dance.

GB’s couple placed 21st.  Paula said, “It’s a great achievement for us and an improvement on our last World Championships when we just 1 off the bottom.  We were just a few marks away from the ¼ final”.

There was a shock at the top though as the two-time Filipino world champions Rhea Marquez and Julius Jun Obero placed a surprise third behind Poland and Russia who took the Gold.

Combi Freestyle Class 2 on the Friday saw 23 couples compete.  Gary commented “We placed 17th.  Initially we were a little disappointed in the placing but having looked back at our scores over the last few competitions, our technical and presentation scores increased by over 0.6 points.  So while our placing reflected the tough competition, we have shown we have improved again on our presentation of our routine.”

It’s no surprise that on their return to the dancefloor, after the ban was lifted, Russia dominated the championships taking home 11 Gold medals.  Max Sedakov taking 6 of those.

Korea shone through in the Combi Standard events taking Gold in both Class 1 and Class 2.

Other highlights included Ukranian Ivan Sivak’s Freestyle Single performance and Filipino Lairca Nicdao taking the first Junior World title in Women’s Singles.

“We are grateful to Para Dance UK who supported us financially to get to the World Championships this year”, said Paula. “It is an honour just to be at such a prestigious competition as the Worlds and to represent your country.”

“We’d really like to thank all our supporters and sponsors – RMA Sport, International Dance Shoes but mostly our coach Accursio Romeo without whom we wouldn’t be getting the increased results that we’ve been achieving over the last year or so” added Gary. “I feel so proud to carry the flag and represent our country at an international level on the world stage.”

Full results and reports from the competition are on the World Para Dance Sport site.

Gary and Paula will be taking a little rest over Christmas before starting to prepare for the next Championship, the Dutch Open in April 2020.

Photos from the event below.

Team GB prepare for the Para Dance Sport World Championships 2019

It’s just 2 days to the Para Dance Sport World Championships which take place in Bonn, Germany on 29th November – 1st December 2019.  Over 240 athletes from 26 counties will take part.

We took time out to speak to Team GB competitors, Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness about their preparation for a major competition.

You’re about to compete in your 2nd Para Dance Sport World Championship; how do you feel about it?

Paula: I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to compete at the World Championships again. It will be great to meet all the other competitors from round the world, meet old and new friends and get to share the dance floor with them.

Gary: It’s a fantastic feeling and very proud moment to represent your country at this level in a World Championship.  We compete mostly against European couples throughout the year, so it will be great to see the rest of the world in action too, including some new countries we’ve not seen before. 

Who do you say are your main competitors in the upcoming competition?

Paula: Well, Russia are back on the floor this year, so they are a big threat to all the couples, with them not competing for almost 3 years.  That along with the competitors from Asia. We will meet competitors who we have never even seen dance before so there is a big unknown element to the event.

Gary: I would agree, it will be nice to see the Russian couples back on the floor and to see the battle with the current World Champions from Philippines.

In the World Championships where would you like to be placed, what would make you happy?

Paula: Of course, we would love to win, however, we are also realistic.  There is the unknown as to who you will be competing against. For me, in Latin it would be great to finish in the top 20 and in Freestyle the top 10.

Gary: We’re dancing in Combi Latin and Freestyle.  This will be our first time our LaLaLand features at a Worlds, so we’ve worked with our trainer to make some small changes to enhance the story telling and difficultly level.  We took a bronze medal in Poland in October but it would be great to finish in top 10.  It would be amazing to make the semi-final in Latin, but realistically, I’d be happy with quarter-final places at such a level at the Worlds.

What kind of preparation goes into a competition?

Paula: We have been preparing for the last few months working on technique, now we are stamina training and ensuring that our lines are correct and that moves are tight, sharp and defined.  Oh, and don’t forget all that tanning and hair and nails that must be done the week of the competition!  You have to look the part as well as dance it.

Gary: We’ve continued to work with our coach, Accursio Romeo, travelling to Milton Keynes for sessions at least once a month.  For now, the focus is on stamina to ensure we can perform our routines multiple times in a short space of time. 

How different if any is it competing at a Para Dance Sport World Championship than any other international competition?

Paula:  A World Championship is a much more formal and prestigious event.  Things like the opening ceremony that happen at other competitions is much more formal with the raising of official IPC flag and athlete and trainer declarations, just like at the Paralympics.  

At an event like the Worlds it’s also the knowing you truly are competing against the best of the best

Gary: It gives you an enormous pride to be representing your country at World Level.  As the official World Championships, there is the prestige in the placings and rankings.  We’d like to thank the UK Governing Body, Para Dance UK for supporting us to enable us to compete and make sure GB is on the world stage for Para Dance Sport.

The event will be streamed live on the World Para Dance Sport website and Facebook.

Polish Open 2019

Team GB score Bronze Medal at the Polish Open Para Dance Sport Championship.

The World Para Dance Sport Polish Open was held in Lomianki, Poland over the weekend of 5th-6th October 2019.

A regular host for Para Dance Sport competitions having held 2 previous European Championships the host city was well prepared for a good weekend of wheelchair dance.

Over 10 countries including Mexico, Ukraine, Slovenia, Great Britain and the host nation, Poland, took to the floor over the 2-day championship.

Team GB was again represented by our own Gary Lyness and Paula Moulton.

Gary and Paula competed in Combi Freestyle on the Saturday, despite both suffering from sickness.

They forged on through their “LaLaLand” routine to a great reaction from the crowd.

On the day they were announced 4th, which was a good result given the circumstances.  It later transpired however, there was a Scrutineer error which saw their result corrected to third to take the Bronze Medal.

So, while the pair missed their place in the spotlight on the podium, they received their medals at the host hotel on the Sunday.

“We are ecstatic with our first Medal placing for Team GB in Freestyle” said Paula. Gary added “It’s a great honour for us to represent our country and even better when we can bring home a medal”.

Unfortunately, due to their illnesses they were unable to compete in the Latin Combi event on the Sunday.

Gary and Paula are now in training for the upcoming Para Dance Sport World Championships which are to be held in Bonn, Germany 29th November – 1st December 2019.

Photos from the competition.

Strictly Wheels prepare for the UK Para Dance Sport National Championship 2018

Saturday 27th October 2018 sees the UK Para Dance Sport National Championship at Harrow Arts Centre.

We took time out to speak to Strictly Wheels club members, about their preparation for the competition.


You’re about to compete in the UK Para Dance Sport National Championship; how do you feel about it?

Goz – This year is my busiest Championships! I am hoping to defend my Single Ladies National title; Lloyd and I are dancing in the Debutante Combi Class 1 again! We are concentrating on finessing the technique in our routines and creating more of a connection between us. This is also our first time dancing freestyle, I don’t want to mess that up. But we still have to cram in extra practice!

Lloyd – This will be our 3rd UK National Championships and our final time in the UK dancing in debutante class. We have danced internationally more this year and had great results in Holland! It would be fantastic to go out on a high this year with that UK National title once again.

Kay – I mostly feel excited about it, I’m really looking forward to a day of dancing – and not just competing, but also being able to watch (and learn from) the other dancers. I’m also a little bit nervous, I worry that I will forget what I am supposed to be doing and it will all go horribly wrong!


What results are you hoping for?

Goz – Within our partnership Lloyd is still the most emotionally expressive on and off the floor. However, I am the quietly competitive one, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to come first place! It would also be also be great to go out on a high as debutantes!  I have no expectations in Combi freestyle, I will be happy as long as we perform the routine the best that we can!

Lloyd – I have worked really hard this year personally on my footwork, technique and confidence on the floor! It would be great to win and as the competition grows I’m expecting a strong competitive field!  But, if we nail the detail, I am sure we can produce solid performances we can both be proud of! As for freestyle combi I am really excited to dance a different style, new routine and let our creativity and personality show!


What kind of preparation goes into a competition?

Dancers in competitionGoz – A lot of practice and rehearsal, when it’s not possible for us to train together, we work individually on various things. I exercise to strengthen my core and work to stretch and strengthen my posture! Lloyd works on footwork and getting more movement in his hips! Haha!

Lloyd – Recently we have not been able to practice together, so I have focused on individual improvement. I have fallen in love with dance and started taking ‘standing classes’ to help with posture, hold and footwork. I also watch videos of our past competitions to analyse what we need to do to improve and how I can implement the standing technique I have learnt to wheelchair dance.  With freestyle I have been looking at costume and make up, which I have loved!

Kay – Extra practice! That includes scheduled practice sessions as well as practicing at home or where ever is possible really. There are some nice long corridors at work which are good for rehearsing arm movements. I have also just moved house and I have good floors and it’s not completely furnished yet, so I have enough empty space to get in a few spins around the kitchen!!

Wheelchair Dancing

How important is Wheelchair dance to you?

Goz – To be honest I never thought dance would be a part of my life. Over the years it has become very important to me, I have made strong friendships and connections with my partner, dance teachers, class members and other international competitors! I get to travel more internationally, it helps with my muscle memory, fitness and confidence. I am slowly learning to embrace the glitter, make up and dresses too! Most of all I love competing!

Kay – Dancing is my happiest bit of the week! I do lots of physical activity which is really important to me mentally and physically – swimming, handcycling, Pilates, weights – but dancing is extra special. It’s not just the dancing itself, it’s also being in an environment where being a wheelchair-user is positive and desirable – you couldn’t have wheelchair dance without wheelchair-users!

Lots of other activities are ‘adapted’ but it’s not the same, and I could be the only wheelchair-user there, so dancing is very different. My favourite dances are: combi chacha and duo tango. If life had been different (and if I had a bit more musically and grace) I would have been a dancer…


Would you recommend taking part in Wheelchair Dance?

Goz – Yes! I am constantly trying to persuade people to join the club, and experience the benefits of wheelchair dance! So, yes!

Kay – Oh my goodness yes! It’s so much fun, you learn new ways to move and use your wheelchair, and also how you can use the environment or other people (with their consent of course) to turn and move. The group element, especially our group dances, are fab too and definitely a bit anarchic sometimes. Being able to respond to and connect with music is very freeing, it’s a real escape from all the stresses and strains of daily life and especially as it in a wheelchair-positive environment.



Team GB prepare for the Para Dance Sport Mainhatten Cup 2018

Great Britain prepares for German Open

This weekend 19th-20th May sees the World Para Dance Sport Mainhatten Cup and German Open Championship take place in Frankfurt, Germany.

Team GB will be represented by members from Strictly Wheels who will be putting the final touches to their routines in class on Wednesday night.

Gary and Paula will be competing in the Mainhatten Cup in Combi Latin.  This will be their first competition since the World Championships last October in Belgium following injury.

Paula says “It will be a test of our fitness getting back onto the floor with not as much training as we would have hoped, but making sure injuries are healed is more important”.  They are also preparing for a new classification to determine which category they will compete in for the year.

Club members will also be hoping to repeat medal success in the German Open Championship in Debutante Combi Class 1.

Goz and Lloyd, who took Silver Medal recently at the Dutch Open will take to the floor again.

The Mainhatten Cup is one of the largest Wheelchair Dance competitions in the annual calendar.  The competition should see competitors coming together to be able to qualify for the European Championships in November in Poland.

Make sure you follow our social media channels for live updates from the competition and results as they are announced!


Cuijk 2018

Returning World Champions stole the show at the first World Para Dance Sport competition of the year, which concluded on Sunday 1st April in Cuijk, Netherlands.

The Cuijk 2018 Para Dance Sport international competition saw 14 medal events, with Ukrainian dancers topping the medals table with nine golds.

Lloyd and Goz WaltzOur own Paula and Gary unfortunately couldn’t compete due to illness; however, Gary accompanied our members Lloyd and Goz who represented Great Britain on both Saturday and Sunday in the Debutante competitions.

They surprised themselves by taking Silver Medal on Saturday in the Debutante Combi Class 1 against 7 other couples from 3 countries.  This was their first major outing onto the international circuit following the smaller Mainhattan Cup in Frankfurt in 2017.

They kept up their footwork and wheel work on the Sunday by repeating their success with a 2nd Silver Medal again in Debutante Combi Class 1, this time against 8 couples.

Gary said, “We’re really proud of the hard work they have put in and all the extra practice they do each week has paid off.”

They are looking forward to a return to the Mainhattan Cup in May to repeat their success as GB Debutante Athletes.”

The main World Para Dance Sport competition was dominated by Ukraine with Olena Chynka taking Golds in the women’s single and single freestyle class 2.  She added a further 2 Golds with dance partner Oleksandr Onischenko in the duo Latin and standard, both that combined 1 and 2 classes.

Belgium fared well with Sofie Cox taking Bronze in Single Freestyle Class 2 and Duo Standard 2 with partner Sander Deckx, they also took home Silver in the Duo Latin 2.

Julius and RheaDouble-reigning World Champions, Philippines’ Rhea Marquez and Julius Obero won the combi Latin 1 and 2 combined and the Combi Freestyle 2.

Belarusian World Champions Hanna Harchakova and Roman Usmanov were the strongest couple in the Combi Standard 2.  Dutch duo Sharon Schleepen and Alex Glijn, and Japan’s Ito Katsushi and Shuto Tomomi took Silver and Bronze respectively.

This was the 30th year of the Holland Dans Spetakel with over 23 countries in attendance either as competitors or officials – the most countries ever at a Para Dance Sport event.


You can view photos from the competition on our Facebook Page.



Great Britain prepares for Dutch Para Dance Championship 2018

This weekend 30th March – 1st April 20818 sees the World Para Dance Sport Dutch Para Dance Championship and Dutch World Cup Championship take place in Cuijk, Holland.

Team GB will be represented by members from Strictly Wheels who will be putting the final touches to their routines in class on Wednesday night.

The competition will feature Standard, Latin events along with Freestyle and Singles events at all levels.

Top couple Gary and Paula unfortunately have to withdraw from the competition due to illness but hope to back on the floor soon for the upcoming Mainhatten Cup in Frankfurt in May.

Club members will compete in the Dutch Open Championship for their first time at what will be the 30th year celebrations in Cuijk.

Goz and Lloyd, our top UK Debutante Combi 1 couple are aiming high to beat off the international competition to make the final both days in the Debutante Combi 1 class.

Cuijk is the longest running Wheelchair Dance competition in the world.  From humble beginnings the championship, which encompasses 3 competitions in 1, is now the largest gathering of all levels of competitors from debutantes to top level in the world.

Make sure you follow our social media channels – Facebook & Twitter for live updates from the competition and results as they are announced!

Great Britain prepares for German Open Wheelchair Dance Championship

This weekend 17th-18th June sees the World Para Dance Sport Mainhatten Cup and German Open Wheelchair Dance Championship take place in Frankfurt, Germany.

Team GB will be represented by members from Strictly Wheels who will be putting the final touches to their routines in class on Wednesday night.

Gary and Paula will be competing in the Mainhatten Cup in Combi Latin and Freestyle.  Paula will also take to the floor in Ladies Singles.  This will be their last competition prior to the World Championships in October in Belgium.

Thanks to funding efforts, club members will also travel to Frankfurt to compete in the German Open Championship.  Their first time in an international competition in the Debutante sections in both Combi Class 1 and Duo Class 1.

Goz and Lloyd, the reigning UK Debutante Combi 1 Champions are aiming high to beat off the international competition and their rivals (and friends) Patricia and Oscar who took the silver medal at the UK Championships.

Goz also teams with Oscar to take the floor in the Debutante Duo 1 hoping to build on their success as Gold medallists at the UK Championships.

The Mainhatten Cup is proving to be one of the largest Wheelchair Dance competitions in the annual calendar and should see many competitors coming together to be able to qualify for the World Championships.

Make sure you follow our social media channels for live updates from the competition and results as they are announced!


Para Dance Sport Rebrand

The IPC has announced that Wheelchair Dance Sport will be renamed World Para Dance Sport.

As part of the rebrand the IPC will have new names and new identities using the World Para prefix for 10 sports.

The decision to change the sport committee names of each sport has been taken to make it clearer to the public which sport the IPC is responsible for.  It will also make each Para sport more distinctive from their Olympic or able-bodied equivalents. The rebranding also ensures that the “Agitos”, the Paralympic symbol, and the word Paralympic are only used in connection with the actual Paralympic Games.

The new identities for each Para sport clearly depict the sport as well as impairments in the logos and competition emblems.

The change to World Para Dance Sport is with the aim to expand the sport beyond wheelchair users so that new classifications for standing dancers with disabilities or prosthesis can take part.

Para Dance Sport Rebrand

Alexis Schaefer, the IPC’s Commercial and Marketing Director, said: “Our aim with the rebranding of the 10 IPC Sports is three-fold.  Firstly, we hope using ‘Para’ will make the sports more distinctive from the equivalent Olympic or able-bodied sports.  Secondly, the new look for each sport allows for a more consistent and uniform promotion of Para sport.  Finally, this move ensures that the Agitos and the word Paralympic is only used in association with the Paralympic Games.

“Although the new sport names and identities have been launched on 30 November, we expect the rebrand process, which will cover a number of assets in each sport, will take a full 12 months to complete.”

The new logo for Para Dance Sport shown above features a pod design and various elements that can be incorporated into competition emblems.

We look forward to a new exciting season and wait to see how the sport will grow in the coming years.


Team GB scoop Gold

Team GB end the year on a high scooping joint Gold in the Showdance at the Malta Open last weekend.

Gary Lyness and Paula Moulton, co-founders of Strictly Wheels, are celebrating the end of their competitive season for 2016.

The pair compete internationally for Great Britain both in IPC (International Paralympic Committee) and non-IPC competitions.

2016 Season

Competitions this year have featured the Suomi Open in Helsinki and the Mainhatten Cup in Frankfurt.  The IPC European Championships ended their IPC season at the end of October in Kosice, Slovakia.

The final competition of the year took place in Malta last weekend with the pair taking part in Showdance and Latin Combi events.

They took the Bronze medal in the Latin Combi event on Sunday, however, they were ecstatic to take the Gold position in Showdance.  They performed an extended version of their iconic routine “Empire State of Mind”.

The podium was shared with Slovakia whom the judges could not separate in their performances.  Teams from Netherlands, Belgium and Germany took part.

It was a great competition and always one of the highlights of the season.  Full credit to Pippa Roberts and her team for the organisation.

Paula said “I’m thrilled to finish with a win, we don’t usually compete in Showdance, so this will spur us on to also concentrate on freestyle along with our Latin in the coming season”.

They finish the year with their official IPC European ranking in Latin Combi 2 at 9th place with Paula also finishing the year in Single Ladies 2 at 8th position in the rankings.

2017 Season

“We’re looking forward to a new season in 2017 which will be a new challenge as many athletes, including Paula, will be reclassified using a new system.  We are more likely to compete on a more level playing field as regards disability.  Showdance will certainly feature too”, Gary added.

The biggest hurdle for Team GB is sponsorship and funding to get to competitions.  “Mostly we have to fundraise and personally support ourselves to get to competitions to represent our country”, Paula says “and it’s very difficult to get funding for international travel.  We can have sponsors on costume in competition so we can offer brands something in return”.

If any companies or individuals would like more information on how they can support Team GB in Wheelchair Dance Sport then please get in touch.

Thanks to our current sponsors – International Dance Shoes and Fish Insurance.


UK National Championship 2016

The stage is set for the Official UK National Championship in Wheelchair Dance Sport which takes place this weekend on Saturday 22nd October 2016 at 1.30pm.

Wheelchair dancers from across the UK will gather at Wodson Park, Ware for the Championships.

Entries will include Duo and Combi, Latin and Standard along with the new Singles events and also Freestyle Group dances.

Prior to the competition in the morning there is also an Inclusive Dance Festival for dancers with any form of disability to strut their stuff without the eagle-eyed judges watching on.

Dancers from Strictly Wheels will be taking part in their very first competition after just 4-5 months of learning.  Dancers will be entering the debutante combi and duo sections.

Our founders, Gary and Paula will also be dancing to retain their title as the UK’s top couple in Combi Latin and also making a comeback in Amateur Standard.  They are also thrilled to be resurrecting their iconic audition dance from Britain’s Got Talent in the Freestyle event.

Both the Inclusive Dance Festival and the National Championship are open to the public to watch.  Tickets are available on the door for just £5.00.

Good luck to all our dancers and we’ll be sure to update on the results as and when they happen on our Facebook and Twitter feeds!


IPC Mainhatten Cup 2016

Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness travelled to Frankfurt, Germany last weekend to represent Great Britain at the IPC Mainhatten Cup Wheelchair Dance Competition.

The competition organised by the German Wheelchair Dance Association comprised of the German National Championship and the IPC Approved Mainhatten Cup.

The competition was large with dancers from over 15 countries in attendance!

The first day saw the beginners and amateur level dancers taking to the floor followed by the IPC Competition with the Freestyle Events kicking off the event.  Austria’s Sanja Vukasinovic, proved why she is the current World Number 1 with a stunning Black Swan routine.  The World Championship couple Peter Vidasic and Helena Kasicka remained on form taking the Freestyle Combi 1 and Combi 1 Standard titles.  Hosts, Germany fared better in the Combi 2 Standard with Jean-Marc and Andrea Clement taking 4th place.

Day 2 of the competition saw Great Britain take to the floor with Paula dancing in the Single Ladies, in a field of 14 dancers, reaching the semi-final to place 10th.  Austria’s Sanja, just missed out on her second Gold to Ukraine’s Olena Chynka.  Combined with her performance in Finland Paula is now ranked 14th in the World in Singles Ladies 2 and 11th in Europe.

The Latin Combi 2 competition had 7 nations competing against each other with Paula and Gary placing a respectable 8th, a good follow up to their recent success in Finland.  Gary said “we thoroughly enjoyed the competition in Frankfurt and thanks to our great hosts for another good competition”.

Gary and Paula are now ranked 7th in Europe and 9th in the World in Latin Combi 2, a great success for Great Britain half way through the competition season.

They are now starting early preparations for the European Championships to be held in Slovakia in October.


IPC Suomi Open Championship

Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness travelled to Lohja, just outside Helsinki in Finland last weekend to represent Great Britain at the IPC Suomi Open Championship.

The competition organised by the Finnish Wheelchair Dance Association was the first international competition to be organised in Finland and comprised of the Suomi Open Championship, the Finnish National Championship and the IPC Approved Suomi Open.

Dancers from over 10 countries were in attendance in the fantastic venue of the Susi Training Centre at Kisakallio.  The floor was a joy to dance on!

The first day saw the beginners and amateur level dancers take to the floor followed by the IPC Competition with the Single Men which was dominated by Russia’s Maksim Sedakov and Germany’s Erik Machens.  Combi Standard couples took to the floor also led by Russia and Ukraine and finally the Duo Latin couples danced perfectly by the winners – Ukraine’s Ivan and Nadiia Sivak, the current World and European Champions.

Day 2 of the competition saw Great Britain take to the floor with Paula dancing in the Single Ladies, just missing out on the final, which was deservedly won by Russia’s Galina Ryzhkova, by one point, placing 7th.

The duo standard event was again won by Ukraine’s Nadiia and Ivan Sivak giving them double gold in the Duo events.

The Latin Combi 2 competition was fiercely fought at the top by the Russian couples with Paula and Gary placing 5th in the final, a great result for them after getting back on to the competition floor after almost a year following injury and illness.  Paula said “we danced well for our first competition of the year and were very pleased with our performance.  The competition was well organised and all credit goes to Finland for hosting such a major event for the first time”.

You can see photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Gary and Paula’s next outing will be at the end of May in Frankfurt at the IPC Mainhatten Cup.

You can see one of our competition routines below!


IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Continents Cup 2015

The IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Continents Cup 2015 takes place this weekend 5th-6th September.

The event which is the largest IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport competition in the calendar, ahead of the World Championships, will see dancers from at least 21 worldwide countries meet in St Petersburg, Russia.

Athletes will compete in the standard Ballroom and Latin categories as well as the new Singles and Freestyle events which, given previous years entries, will no doubt prove very exciting to watch.  Former routines have wowed the judges particularly in the Group Freestyle events.  Russia itself has dominated the event in previous years, so we are looking forward with anticipation to see the results from the weekend as a forerunner to the World Championships.

The event will be broadcast live on Saturday and Sunday via the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport website.  Check out the Continents Cup website for the running order.

Unfortunately, Great Britain will not be represented this year due to lack of funding available to athletes in the UK so we are unable to send a team.

Wheelchair Dance Sport at this level is still not recognised so it is difficult to find funding and sponsors.  We are still hoping for funding and sponsorship so that Team GB will be able to compete at the upcoming World Championships in Rome.


IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Competition in Germany

Gary & Paula MedalsCongratulations to Paula Moulton & Gary Lyness who competed for Great Britain at the recent IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Competition in Rheinsberg, Germany.

The competition was held at the HausRheinsberg Hotel, a fantastic, fully accessible hotel specifically designed for disabled travellers, on Saturday 15th March.

This is only the second time they have competed at top level in IPC Competition and they were thrilled to come 6th out of the 7 couples present.  Paula said “it’s a great feeling to know we can progress given we are now competing against couples who have been dancing in top level for longer than we’ve even been dancing overall!”.

They competed in Combi Class 2 Latin, with Paula having received her permanent classification from the IPC for Wheelchair Dance Sport against couples from Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Russia, Malta and Austria.  Photos from the competition can be found on the couple’s Facebook page.

They are now currently ranked 6th in the world – until the next competition in the 2014 season that is!.  Unfortunately though, due to lack of funding in the UK and sponsorship, it is unlikely at this stage they will be able to travel to any of the planned IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport competitions through the year, so they be unable to gain any further ranking points.

The couple’s only sponsors come in the form of International Dance Shoes, who provide their competition shoes and Fish Insurance who cover all of their insurance needs for travel and wheelchairs.  They are most in need of a sponsor to cover their travel to wheelchair dances sport competitions as this is their largest expense through the year on top of training costs, costume and equipment.

Gary said “It’s a shame the sport does not have the recognition it deserves in the UK to open doors to funding, many other European countries are wholly funded by their governing bodies.  Sponsorship is still an option though, as IPC Guidelines allow couples to display sponsors on their costume and wheelchair when competing”.

If you or your company would like to speak to them about sponsorship then please contact them.

Dutch Open Gold Medal 2013

Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness swept to victory on Easter Sunday at the Dutch Open when they won the Amateur Latin title.  They also won a Silver Medal in Ballroom the previous day just being pipped to the post by Poland.

It was a fantastic competition and the couple’s third year competing at the Dutch Open.  It is the largest wheelchair dance competition of its kind in the world.

Gary said, “It’s very exciting, but daunting to be entering the World Class arena after such a short time, but it is testament to our dedication”.

“We were thrilled to get silver in Ballroom as a great improvement on last year,” said Paula.

With the third win in a row in Amateur Latin they are now set to become the UK’s first Top level competing couple in Latin Wheelchair Dancesport!

Next Competition

Our next competition is closer to home when we compete in an International Wheelchair Dancesport competition held in the UK. The Manchester Grand Prix Wheelchair Dancesport Championship will take place on Sunday 30th June at the Wythenshawe Forum. The city plays host to competitors from at least 10 European nations.  Spectators will be able to see the world’s best Wheelchair Dancesport champions in action.

Same Sex Open Blackpool

Its great to know that dancing really is open to all.  Dance has no bounds, age, sex, race, ability, disability the list goes on, but dance can touch every single persons’ lives in some form or another.

The UK has been home to ballroom dancing for as long as anyone can remember and its great that the UK can also be the first to invite the world to its shores for the dance events that are outside the realm of the standard competition.

Manchester held the first International Wheelchair Dancesport competition in the UK in 2011 and we are also pleased the UK will also host the first World Same Sex Championship in Blackpool this coming weekend.  We are also honoured that they have asked us to showcase Wheelchair Dancesport at the event, so Gary and Paula aka Strictly Wheels will be performing at the Grand Finals evening at the Winter Gardens.  It’s a great opportunity to show another section of the Ballroom Community what we do in wheelchair dance and fantastic to perform in such a great venue.

We wish the Same Sex Open every success and hope they can build on it as we have and keep the Championships going year on year and keep the world coming to the UK for Ballroom Dancing in all its forms.

Same Sex Open

The Championship with no Champions

We have just attended the third annual UK Wheelchair Dancesport Championship which was held at Watford Colusseum on 29th September.  The venue itself was great, a lovely building with lots of reminiscences of its art deco history and very accessible, which is a key factor for any Wheelchair Dancesport event.

If only the same could be said about the competition itself. 

Dancers came from various corners of the UK to compete and show off their talent on the dance floor.  It anything can be said, the introduction of a national championship three years ago has certainly given wheelchair dancers in the UK something to work towards and inspire and motivate them to work harder and improve their skill, this was certainly evident in the performances of many of the competitors on the floor.

It is great to see such enthusiasm for competition and the willingness to take part, however, the reward for any competition is the prize.  The very definition of competition in its crudest form is “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating others”.  It is incredibly sad that the WDSA (UK) the national body for Wheelchair Dancesport in the UK fail to recognise this and failed to present the medals and give results at the competition itself.  It is standard practice at any competition in any sport to give results at the end of the competition.  Instead, without pre-notifying competitors fully or informatively, the competition pack handed out on the day simply stated “we felt that to present the medal directly after the championship was completed, was rushed and did not give us time to honour the outstanding work of the dancers, officials and all those behind the scenes people who ensure the smooth running of a dance championship.”. 

Instead the results and medals were to be announced at a Gala Dinner to be held that evening to which a general invite had been sent but no mention that this would also double as the medal presentation.  This Gala is and should be a separate event.  Many dancers were not attending the Gala, including ourselves, and the WDSA were fully in the knowledge of who was and was not attending prior to the evening having taken bookings, so they clearly knew that less than half of the competitors were attending and failed to inform them they would not get their results or medals, yet the WDSA do not see the fault in this.  Little did the competitors know they would have to pay £35 for dinner and invariably a night’s accommodation just to find out the result of the National Championship and receive their medals.  Even paying spectators were left at the end of the day having watched and supported the dancers not knowing who actually won anything.  We would be asking for our money back feeling cheated out of the end result of the day.  It is frankly, disgusting.

The entire organisation of the day was a shambles.  The invite to the competition did not inform competitors of the judging panel, a must for any national event.  From the outset on the day, there was no warm up session on the floor to give dancers the feel of the floor.  It hadn’t been thoroughly checked over, given we tripped over a nail sticking up out of it and asked for debris to be cleared.  The running order was thrown out of the window after round 1, so none of the competitors knew when their heat was so as to be ready.  Granted, some rounds did not go ahead at the last minute, but announcements were just not forthcoming to inform competitors what the following round would be and to prepare to come on the floor.  It was a nice idea to have a single entrance and separate exit to the dancefloor, which is great when competitors know when they are meant to go on and make their way there, but not when the heat is just announced and then forced (with no exception) to run round the perimeter of the room to get to the entrance to the floor.

At Debutante level, different music was played for each heat of the same round.  The same music should be played for each heat so all competitors in that round dance to the same track so there can an even judgement from one heat to the next.  At one point the judges on the floor had to stop a dance half way through as the wrong music was being played.  Well done to some of the Debutantes for having a bash at a very slow quickstep that was foxtrot track, while no one on the platform realised their error.  No head or chair adjudicator was noted in the program. 

At Amateur level in both Ballroom and Latin sections, dances were played in the wrong order, again, this is standard practice for the dances to be performed in their set order.  One running order actually had incorrect dances listed for sections.  The poor MC who was just reading information given to him did not know what was going on which only added to the confusion.  The only redeeming feature to the music was the jive in the final – the theme to Disney’s Duck Tales, nice perhaps for juveniles, but it still did bring a smile to our faces (we are kids at heart!).

Many of the competitors left with no knowledge as to how they did or knows who won their section and at point of writing, still do not.  The result of the Amateur Combi 2 Ballroom and Latin was given in the corner of the room after everyone had gone, but only because we demanded our results before leaving, otherwise when were we ever to be told our placing for national ranking and points. 

The sad thing is that the WDSA does not see the fault it has made and unfortunately, this is the very national body that aims to hold an international competition next year in the UK which is open to world class competitors.  One hopes there will a steep learning curve in the art of competition running and promotion between now and then.

So there we have it a Championship, with unknown Champions.