Interview with Randall Wynqwart

I received a letter from a reader asking whether her child, who is a wheelchair user, can participate in extra curricular activities. This month we will look at the experiences of wheelchair ballroom dancer Randall Wynqwart, who has C3 quadriplegia.

Emma: How old were you when you started wheelchair ballroom dancing?

Randall: I only started three years ago, when I was 31. I wished I had known about dancing before, so I could have started earlier. I had my accident when I was nine years old and always loved dancing and music. After my accident I never thought I would be able to dance again. A friend, Zelda, took me to watch wheelchair ballroom dancing and I thought, “How can they dance?” I came home inspired and saw that it was possible and I wanted to try it for myself.

Emma: Was it hard learning to dance and did you receive training?

Randall: Yes it was difficult in the beginning but I persevered because I love dance. I went for dancing lessons for 6 months and attended my first competition in June 2011. I had a dancing partner who was a wheelchair user for a few years and have recently started entering competitions with an able-bodied dancer. My confidence improved the more I practiced and I had to believe that I could dance. After my first competition I became very emotional as I realised I had my dream of dancing back.

Emma: What are your current challenges?

Randall: While costumes are expensive, my biggest challenge is finding accessible transport to get to training, competitions and workshops, as these are often held in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and I live in Mitchell’s Plain. I always have to make sure that my electric wheelchair’s battery is fully charged before competitions and training and need an additional battery as a backup.

Emma: Why do you dance?

Randall: I enjoy showing other people with disabilities as well as those without disabilities that you can dance if you believe and practice hard. You can do anything that you put your heart into if you persevere.