Reader Profile - Mukkie in Motion
Gladys Bullock of the South African Circle of Dance Acadamy, SACDA, came to my primary school in 2001 to demonstrate wheelchair dance. The school agreed that Gladys could offer dance as an extra mural activity - but I never attended because my friends didn't want to.
We just did the things we always did, like swimming in the school pool, while the dance classes were on. The pool was close to the gym where Gladys taught dance, and one day I heard her play Sun Shine by Michael Jackson. I love Michael Jackson! I have always wanted to dance like him, so I told myself "Next week I will dodge my friends and go see what it is like."
When I went I sat in a corner checking it out for a while, until Gladys took me ontothe floor. I loved it! Gladys saw how much I enjoyed it and invited me to herclasses at St Giles, where I met my first dance partner, Ilse Hans. That same year I competed in my first competition and we won! Sadly, Ilse grew too tall for me, so in 2003 Gladys invited me to Rocklands Civic Centre, Mitchells Plain, where I met my current dance partner, Danielle Matthews.
My mom had three asthma attacks within one hour when she was seven months pregnant with me. The lack of oxygen affected the side of my brain that controls my lower limbs, trunk muscles and balance. They only diagnosed my problems at the tender age of 11 months.
Everyone has limitations - whether you are differently abled or not. I prefer to see themas obstacles and live by the motto: The limit of human ability is yet to be discovered. I am a 3rd year Marketing student at CPUT (Cape Peninsular University of Technology), I do hand cycling (in 2011 I finished the Pick n Pay Argus Tour!), I enjoy playing pool, acting and doing anythingextreme!
What a Feeling!
The feeling I get when I am on stage, or competing, is indescribable! It's a great feeling! It's like an adrenaline rush plus that breath you take after holding your breath for a really long time plus the feeling you have after you've had a great week - all rolled into one! I feel more alive when I am on stage, or competing. I see the stage as My World, a blank canvas waiting for me to paint.
Many people think that Wheelchair Ballroom Dancing is just the leg dancer pulling the wheelchair dancer around. But that is not true! It takes two to tango! The wheelchair dancer must not put their hands on the wheels, that's why it looks like they are being pulled around. Actually we control the wheelchair with our trunk muscles and backs. There is a push and pull action going on between the leg dancer and the wheelchair dancer. All the other factors are the same as for standard Ballroom Dancing, like body stretches, head movement and unity. In Latin American the wheelchair dancer can put their hands on the wheels (to move), but Latin American also requires more body action and expression.
My dance partner, Danielle, and I have won many championships together. We are several times Western Province Champions and South African Champions and in 2007 we were ranked 2nd in the world in the amateur division. This year we rank11th in the World Cup Division (Pro Section). We have appeared onmany TV shows and we are the first, and only, wheelchair dance couple to appearon Strictly Come Dancing!!!