Since its invention in 1968 by Swedish wheelchair user Els Britt Larsson, wheelchair dancing has been growing in popularity around the world. Benbrook, TX is the latest place for it to catch on. A local YMCA is now offering wheelchair dance lessonsfor young girls.
The class was started by Sami Wimberly whose six year old daughter Mayli was born with spina bifida and loves to dance. "I know for my daughter, she loves to get to come to a class and not be questioned about her chair, not be stared at and learn adaptive moves she can do in her chair,” said Wimberly.
For their first big dance recital, Mayli and her classmates wore mermaid tails and performed the “Whip and Nae Nae” dance popularized by rapper Silentó to a song from The Little Mermaid.
"It was amazing," said Mayli. "It's like we get to wear makeup. We got to wear pretty mermaid tails, and we can do the dance and it was just like so happy."
Wimberly says the class has helped the kids come out of their shells. She hopes it will spread a message of positivity and acceptance to others. "The more that kids and people see these girls doing great things in their chairs, the less pity they'll have for them,” said Wimberly. “You just think don't feel bad for us. She [Mayli] is great! She's healthy and we're blessed!"