Meet Goz – Wheelchair Dancer
We meet Goz, a regular at our wheelchair dance classes to find out what she enjoys about being a wheelchair dancer.
How did you find out about Strictly Wheels? – At first, I was taking part in a ‘Get Inspired’ challenge which I had pitched to BBC Sport, where I would take part in a series of different sport challenges.
A friend found Strictly Wheels wheelchair dance but initially I wasn’t keen. I didn’t want to do it, I thought it was cheesy and at school I hated dance I thought it was just horrible. However, after just one class I was hooked!
How long have you been a wheelchair user? – I’ve been a wheelchair user since I was 18 months old. I had an illness which left me with paralysis diagonally across my body, with my right arm and left leg greatly affected.
Why did you decide to take part? – After those first couple of classes I was hooked, I loved it and wanted to do more. I’m a very competitive person and took part in national competitions at school in shotput, discus and javelin. Dance is something I can do despite my disability and I enjoy that it challenges me, making me use my brain to remember the steps and get it right.
What do you like about the classes? – “It’s fun!” it keeps me fit. I would like to raise the profile and encourage more people to get involved. I like that the dances aim to replicate the same steps for wheelchair users as standing partners, and dances are adapted based on ability not disability.
What benefits has wheelchair dancing brought to your life? – Dance gives me a sense of achievement and builds my confidence. It has proven to me that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I’m still on a journey to see where dance will take me.
What has been a highlight of learning to dance so far? – There are 2 highlights – taking part in my first competition in October 2017 – the UK National Championship for Wheelchair Dance Sport when I won Gold in Debutante Combi Class 1 and Debutante Duo Class 1.
More recently we’ve just returned from Cuijk, Holland from one of the largest international competitions and we won Silver against 8 other couples in Debutante Combi 1 – that was an amazing feeling to place that high in our first big international.
How far would you like to take wheelchair dancing? – I’m extremely competitive with an all or nothing attitude and feel anything less is a waste of time. “If you’re going to do it, DO IT!” In the short term, I’m aiming to move out of ‘Debutante’ to the next level and become an “Amateur” level dancer, with the long-term goal of competing for Team GB at top level. Since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of competing in the Paralympics and fingers crossed that’s on track for Paris 2024!
Our FREE wheelchair dance classes take place every Wednesday evening at Trinity Sports Centre, Manchester.
Posted on: 23rd April 2018, by : Strictly Wheels