How Michigan Became America’s Epicenter of Accessible Ballroom Dancing

Para dance is a graceful and stylish sport for athletes with physical disabilities. A studio in Bloomfield Hills is pioneering it in the U.S.

LaToya Cross

Metro Detroit is increasingly becoming a hub for para dance sport, an accessible-style of ballroom dancing for physically-challenged athletes that’s popular in Europe. 

Since 2005, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bloomfield Hills has spearheaded a dance mobility program for participants who use a wheelchair. This weekend, the dance studio is holding a national training for 30 dance instructors who want to learn how to make ballroom dancing accessible for everyone. 

“It’s pretty amazing to watch,” says Evan Mountain, owner of the local Fred Astaire Dance Studio. “Detroit has become the epicenter of para dance sport here in the United States.” 

Mountain and Myreo Dixon, WDET’s Detroit Radio Information Service production leader who uses a wheelchair himself and has participated in para dance sport in the past, joined CultureShift in the studio. 

Click on the player above to hear CultureShift’s Ryan Hooper in conversation with Evan Mountain and Myreo Dixon on para dance sport.


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