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Freedom found on the para dance floor

Dance & Roll, a Melbourne-based para dance group is giving wheelchair users the opportunity to take to the dance floor. The brainchild of Rocca Salcedo, Dance & Roll launched earlier this year and offers an opportunity for wheelchair users to enjoy a range of para dance styles including modern, contemporary and country.

Dance has long been a passion of Rocca’s. Growing up in Colombia, music and dance were a big part of Rocca’s life. As a child, she would often dance the folkloric national dances of Colombia.

Following an accident that left her with a spinal cord injury, Rocca missed the individual expression that dance offered. But after attending the Australian Dance Sport competition in December 2018 where para dance was included for the first time, she was inspired.

‘I saw people in wheelchairs dancing and I had the opportunity to see the para dance sport champion who performed in Melbourne during the national competition. Then I started to do some research in order to find a dance studio that included classes for people in wheelchairs. I could not find any studio teaching para dance in Melbourne. Consequently, I created the club under the name Dance & Roll,’ Rocca said.

A symbol of happiness

For Rocca, dance is about much more than simply moving to a beat. ‘Dancing is freedom. A symbol of happiness, enjoyment and fun,’ she said. Alongside the enjoyment and fun, dance also provides plenty of physical benefits.

‘People that have joined the club are very surprised with the physical activity, exercise and stamina that dancing involves. They [have] said that thanks to the classes they feel more confident dancing in social events and therefore their self-esteem increases,’ Rocca said.

‘The most beautiful thing is seeing people happy and enjoying themselves without judgements.’

Melbourne dance and roll para dance

Dance & Roll welcomes men and women of all ages with physical disabilities. Rocca encourages anyone thinking about trying dance to give it a go.

‘My advice is come, try and let yourself go with the music. It is very therapeutic experience letting your body go with the rhythms and expressing yourself,’

‘The dance group also is a great opportunity to meet people in a social and friendly environment.’

You can learn more about Dance & Roll, who meet regularly at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Kew, via Dance & Roll’s Facebook page or by contacting Rocca on 0408 523 742.

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