Dancing to their own tune

Wheelchair dancer Scott Kenney and Byron Bay Latin dance teacher Donna Wild go through a few of their dance steps during a wheelchair dancing performance at the International Year of Disabled Persons celebrations in Lismore on Monday.

Latin dancing has added spice and a whole new dimension to the lives of wheelchair-bound Scott Kenney and Monica McHenry, two of the star performers at this weeks 25th birthday celebration of the International Year of Disabled Persons in Lismore.

Over 150 people took part in the Art with Heart celebrations at Lismore City Hall on Monday, celebrating the many things people with disabilities can do, rather than what they cant.

Scott, 37, of Byron Bay, and Monica, 22, of Bribie Island, are members of Wheelchair Dancesport Australias Rhythm on Wheels dancing display team. They carved up the dance floor and wowed the local audience with their moves.

I used to see a wheelchair as a hindrance not a help. I didnt think I could combine it with dancing, but Ive loved it ever since I started two years ago, said Monica, who was born with spina bifida. I love Latin music and the faster ones theyre a challenge and I love a challenge. Something inside me makes me get out and burst onto the dance floor.

Monica, a science student at the Queensland University of Technology, said wheelchair dancing was not only good fun, but appealed to her competitive streak.

It has also allowed me to travel to new places and meet some wonderful new people, she said. I love travel and never thought Id get the opportunity.

The wheelchair dancing performance was just one of many events on the day, which included an art exhibition, drama, music and poetry performances.


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