The energetic movements of bhangra and other styles that influence Bollywood is a joy to watch, but can be difficult to perform and inaccessible to many people. In recent years, several dance troupes have sprung up that feature dancers of varying abilities, including wheelchairs. I was delighted, then, to find this performance from Ability Unlimited.

The performance includes beautiful women in saris and handsome men in jeans and wheelchairs. The women perform the majority of the more difficulty choreography, but the men still participate in some incredibly physical moves. For example, the women balance on the chairs as the men spin them around. This move involves as much trust and skill as if the men were simply holding/carrying the women.

The movements aren’t always precise, and one couple falls behind at one point. The choreography is fairly simple. (Though not far off from similar moves in the original song.) But the joy the dancers feel is evident. They smile. They give it their all. It’s a beautiful reminder that this is entertainment for everyone. There is room for dancers, for people, of all abilities and skill levels.

Posted by Natasha

Natasha received her MA in Literature and Culture in 2008 from Oregon State University. Currently she lives in Oregon with her husband and cats.

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