In October 20, 2018, dance enthusiasts of all ages and abilities gathered at the Thornhill Community Centre to commemorate the excitement and beauty of ballroom and Latin dance sportsmanship, artistry and entertainment. In collaboration with Canada and Ontario DanceSport’s Ontario Open Championships, WHEEL DANCE held its Third Annual Canadian Para DanceSport Competition and Showcase.
The Ontario Open Championships are a full day and evening of amateur DanceSport competitions. WHEEL DANCE’s Para DanceSport events included competitive Para DanceSport as well as showcase performances. Unique to Canada and North America, this competition has attracted Para DanceSport athletes from Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico over the past three years. This year, the event celebrated the culmination of dance training by WHEEL DANCE members, the ongoing recognition of WHEEL DANCE as an Associate Member of Canada DanceSport, and the receipt of a generous Collaborative Grow Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in support of the growth and development of Para DanceSport in Ontario and Canada.
Since 2014, WHEEL DANCE has received generous funding from the OTF. The new Grow Grant, awarded to WHEEL DANCE, Canada DanceSport and Ontario DanceSport, is a testament to the power of collaboration. Over the next three years, the grant will be used to develop an internationally recognized Para DanceSport program, to eliminate barriers foster an active lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities. The OTF Grow Grant marks a major milestone for Para DanceSport provincially and nationally, and its impact has already been felt. Within the first six months, the grant has supported the further training and international certification of
WHEEL DANCE’s Head of Classification, Dr. Sivakumar Gulasingam. Upon successful completion, he became the first International Paralympic Committee sanctioned Para DanceSport Classifier for both North and South America.
WHEEL DANCE is proud to be training dancers, instructors and classifiers, organizing competitions and workshops, providing performance opportunities, and building the infrastructure and governance of the sport from the ground up. This year’s competition and showcase was well attended by WHEEL DANCE’s passionate and committed dancers, their friends and families, our skilled and dedicated instructors and Para DanceSport classifiers, our generous volunteers, local community members and the media. Aside from the skill and artistic talent displayed on the dance floor, the truest measure of the day’s success was witnessing the joy, camaraderie and support shared on and off the dance floor, as well as the resounding message that every *body* can dance!