I ran across this article on the BBC website "Wheelchair user barred from dance class in Reading". Ms. Susi Rogers-Hartley, a wheelchair-bound former Royal Navy communications worker, had hoped to take a lindy hop class at the "All Jazzed Up" dance studio in Berkshire, UK. The organizers told her that they must first "consult their insurers to work out how to integrate her into the Lindy Hop class."
This is not the first person with disabilities that "All that Jazzed" has taught however. Teacher Jean Harper said, "We have taught visually impaired students, students who are hard of hearing and someone with Parkinson's disease but none of us are trained to teach wheelchair dancing or have any training or experience in how to adapt Lindy Hop to wheelchair dancing."
Ms. Rogers-Hartley was heart-broken. The studio has since invited her back to discuss ways she could be integrated into the class.
I've known a number of dancers who have learned to lindy hop despite physical disabilities. Many people have heard the story of the deaf lindy hopper Tim Vail for example. I've danced with more than one follow who was missing part or all of an arm. But being in a wheelchair presents all sorts of challenges that as a teacher I think would be very hard to accomodate.
If you teach or manage a dance studio, how have you dealt with students of different physical abilities / disabilities? What has worked and what has been the most challenging?