Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

Like nobody’s watching 3

Do you remember when your kids were old enough to no longer be fragile, yet young enough that you could still lift them off the ground? You could grab them by the wrists and swing them around and around in a circle until you were both so dizzy you would fall down? They would scream and giggle and say again! again! And then, when they were bigger, it would take the effort of two adults to lift them off the ground – one hand in each of yours One! Two! Three! WEEE!! As you swing them between you – they always ask for more – which you could only do for so long before your arms started to ache.

I feel like that kid, now, twirling and spinning in circles, smile on my face feeling free to move, unimpeded by furniture, space or floor covering.  What is responsible for this you ask? I am learning to dance (again)! With the help of my friends Les and Anne (of East Side Dance in Blyth) I am having the most fun that I have had of any of the sports that I have tried post SCI. Sure I loved being on a bike again, and swimming is great, kayaking got me back out to nature and climbing was something to conquer, but dance is different.

First dance lesson with Les at Blyth’s East Side Dance Studio.

Ballroom dance requires strength and endurance (we have already seen improvement in my core), is not independant (I have two instructors!) and of course there is music. I always used to do my workouts to music likely because it kept me going and allowed me to make the most of my time. I suppose my move to Netflix while using my exercise equipment is not the best idea.

The number of exclamation marks in this post is a good indication – dancing is great! Les has never danced with someone who used a chair, so we are learning together. We have an hour long lesson every week and soon Theo will join in and learn how not to get is toes rolled over with every move I make 🙂

Here is a sample of the first session we had together. Les has yet to actually throw me out of my chair, but you’ll see at the end of this video…he comes close to landing in my lap.


  • Elizabeth Perron says:

    Hi Julie
    Where i live here in Vancouver there is a young lady in our building that is into wheelchair ballroom dancing and has gone all over the world with it. She is originally from Russia. My husband I do wheelchair square dancing,
    All the best

  • Donna Govier says:

    It’s just wonderful to see you and Les dancing Julie….

  • Jan Duffield says:

    I watchejan duffieldd a show about a woman with spinal bifida ( i think ) who wants to make wheelchair ballroom dancing an Olympic sport. I can see why you would be seeing improvement in your core from dancing. To watch this woman dance was incredible. She was exhausted at the end of her performance (and so was I just watching her!). You certainly look very elegant with your instructor /partner! Hopefully Theo can look just as good!

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