History of the Malta Wheelchair Dance Sport Association



Wheelchair dancing was started in Malta in 1999. In other parts of the world it has been practiced for over 20 years. The Association was formed in Malta in 2001. The aims are to teach people in wheelchairs to dance in a similar format to non-disabled people. For competitive purposes there are two forms

1) Combi where one partner is in a wheelchair and one is non-disabled.
2) Duo where two are in wheelchairs.

Dances are:
Latin American - Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive.
Standard - Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and quickstep.

There are two categories of disability which are classified by trained classifiers.
There are different levels starting as a beginner and ending at championship level.

Apart from the above there are line dances and solo dances which can be used socially. In Malta I try to keep this in line with non-disabled line dances etc., so that integration is at a maximum


BENEFITS


For the wheelchair user the main benefits are that they can actually express the feeling of dance that is elusive and has nothing to do with the legs but is more within the person. Through the wheelchair and use of arms and other parts of the body movement is made in the same way as non-disabled. Like non-disabled dancers not all are good, but the most important part is participation especially on a social level.

Wheelchair dancing is a sport and art that integrates fully therefore the non-disabled person gets to know the wheelchair user as a person rather than as somebody with a disability. The misconception that some disabled persons are also with limited mental abilities is quickly dispelled thus educating many people. After all there is not one person born who does not have some sort of disability, e.g. shyness,

Wheelchair dancing also teaches the w/c dancer &/or helper, how to use their wheelchair better. Often by seeing other dances do more with their wheelchair it encourages them to become more independent and try new moves. Not unlike non-disabled dancers trying to copy their peers.


PIPPA ROBERTS


Pippa RobertsStarted dancing at the age of three after having polio. Performed in shows and television programmes in England and abroad. Worked as a professional choreographer until moving to Malta on her marriage to a Maltese.

A qualified teacher in Ballet, Tap, Stage, Ballroom, Latin American and Wheelchair Dance

Whilst always interested in charity shows and helping disabled, wheelchair dancing allows her to use both her teaching and choreographic abilities in the medium she enjoys most. Also the satisfaction of seeing people of all ages and nationalities in wheelchairs mix and dance with non-disabled people socially as well as competitively is something that cannot be measured. The friends made through wheelchair dance have enhanced her life.


History of the Association


1999


Wheelchair dancing was started in Malta with two wheelchair dancers Maria Borg & Mario Borg.

2000


First couple from Malta participated in the Holland Dance Spektakel

Beginner Combi Class 2

2nd Mario Borg & Josepha Magro


2001


January 28th Launched the Malta Wheelchair Dancesport Association. It’s aims to encourage people to dance regardless of any disability.

One couple represented Malta in the Holland Dance Spektakel
Latin American Combi Class 2
Championship 8th Mario Borg & Ann Marie Baldacchio

One couple represent Malta in the IPC European Championships 2001 in Holland
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
9th Mario Borg & Ann Marie Baldacchio


2002


The 1st Malta Open Dance Spectacular was held on December 14th & 15th with four countries attending.

Beginners Duo Class 2
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
5th Steven Fenech & Ann Marie Baldacchino


2003


Three couples take part in Holland Dance Spektakel.
Beginner Combi Class 2
1st Kiera Muscat & Warren Bonello
3rd Daniela Borg & Christopher Sammut

Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
11th Steven Fenech & Ann Marie Baldacchino

One couple represent Malta in the IPC European Championships 2003 in Belarus
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
9th Steven Fenech & Ann Marie Baldacchino


2004


2 couples participate in the Holland Dance Spektakel.
4 Dance Combi Class 2 Latin American
4th Christopher Sammut-Daniella Borg

4 Dance Combi Class 2 Ballroom
3rd Christopher Sammut-Daniella Borg

Latin American Class 2 Championship
9th Steven Fenech & Ann Marie Baldacchino


The 2nd Malta Open Dance Spectacular was held on 11th & 12th December with 13 countries attending
Beginners Duo Class 2
2nd Maria Seeguna & Sarah Borg
3rd Marylene Debono & Mandy Ghio
4th Kira Muscat & Natasha Gatt
5th Yanica Galea & Luana Galea

Beginner Combi Class 2
1st Nicholas Sammut-Marylene Debono

3 Dance Duo Class 2 Ballroom
2nd Steven Fenech & Daniela Borg

3 Dance Duo Class 2 Latin American

4 Dance Combi Class 2 Latin American
1st Christopher Sammut-Daniella Borg

Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
5th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio


2005


February - Steven Fenech, Mandy Ghio, Daniela Borg & Christopher Sammut go to Italy to demonstrate Wheelchair Dancing.

March – 3 couples participate in the Holland Dans Spektakel in the Netherlands
Beginners Combi Class 2
1st Nicholas Sammut-Marylene Debono

4 Dance Combi Class 2 Ballroom
1st Christopher Sammut-Daniella Borg

4 Dance Combi Class 2 Latin American
4th Christopher Sammut-Daniella Borg

Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
9th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio


April - 1 couple represents Malta in the Polish Open Championships

Latin American Combi Championship
5th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

May - 1 couple represents Malta in the Eurasia Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia
Latin American Combi Championship
6th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
6th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

October – Pippa Roberts invited to Brazil to train dancers, wheelchair dancers and coaches and lecture at the University of Juiz de Fora


2006


April - 2 couples participate in the Holland Dance Spektakel
4 Dance Combi Class 2 Latin American
2nd Daniela Borg & Redeemer Gatt

Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
8th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
13th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

September – 1 couple represent Malta in the Slovakia International DanceSport Championships in Bratislava
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
2nd Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
5th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

October - 1couple represent Malta in the IPC World Championships in the Netherlands
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
9th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
11th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio


The 3rd Malta Open Dance Spectacular was held on 25th & 26th November with 13 countries attending.

4 Dance Combi Class 2 Latin American
1st Daniela Borg & Redeember Gatt
4th Nicholas Sammut-Marylene Debono

Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
3rd Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
4th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

December - 25th Anniversary of Wheelchair Dancing as recognized by the International Paralympic Committee, which was started by Corrie van Hugten & Ondine de Hullu
Pippa Roberts lectures at the first Congress for Wheelchair Dancing which was held in the Netherlands, assisted by Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio.



2007


April – 1 couple participate in the Holland Dance Spektakel
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio


April – 1 couple participate in the International German Classics Championships
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
1st Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
2nd Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio


1 couple represents Malta in the Eurasia Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
4th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
3rd Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio


October - 1 couple represent Malta in the IPC European Championships in Poland
Latin American Combi Championship
8th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
6th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio


2008


February – Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio invited to Canada to perform at the Snowball Classic Championships

February – I couple participate in the 1st Israeli Wheelchair DanceSport Championships
Latin American Combi Championship
3th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
4th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

April – 1 couple participate in the Holland Dance Spektakel. Pippa Roberts lectures at the 2nd International Congress on wheelchair dancing
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
5th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
5th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio


April – 1 couple participate in the International German Classics Championships
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
3rd Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
4th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

July – Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio invited by Lord Mayor of London to dance in Trafalgar Square spectacular “London Big Dance”

October – Pippa Roberts teaches BBC “Blue Peter” presenter to dance with a wheelchair dancer. Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio assisted.


The 4th Malta Open Dance Spectacular was held on 29th & 30th November with 16 countries attending. BBC film documentary for Blue Peter Television. 20 minutes advertising of Malta during the programme. The couple won the beginners combi competition
Beginner Combi Class 2
1st James

Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
4th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
3rd Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio


2009


February – 1 couple participate in the 1st Wheelchair Championships of China
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
6th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
6th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

April – 2 couple participate in the Holland Dance Spektakel
Beginner Combi Class 2
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
5th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
4th Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

May – 1 couple participate in the International German Classics Championships
Latin American Combi Class 2 Championship
1st Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
2nd Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio

May – October - Pippa Roberts involved in production for BBC3. The series will be shown at the beginning of 2010. Pippa choreographed for the wining couple for the IPC European Championships that were held in Israel in October 2009.

June – Steven Fenech & Mandy Ghio invited to Iceland to perform for the Premier of the documentary “A subtle movement of air” and to perform in Rejkavik. Pippa Roberts teaches wheelchair dancing to interested teachers of dance and wheelchair users.

August - 1 couple represents Malta in the Continents Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia
Latin American Combi Championship
6th Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio

Ballroom Combi Class 2 Championship
3rd Steven Fenech-Mandy Ghio


November – Pippa Roberts invited to Brazil to lecture at the University of Juiz de Fora. Whilst there she will be coaching dancers and adjudicators.

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