Sue Cummings (Chair)
Sue became disabled following a fall down marble stairs whilst working as a Police Officer. She moved with her family to Devon in 1980 and met a man who invited her to a wheelchair dance group. She went along and joined in the dancing and swiftly began competing both in the UK and internationally with her wheelchair dance partner. She took the English Teachers Certificate in Wheelchair Dancing in 1986 and formed the group called The Beacons Wheelchair Dancers in 1986 which is still going and growing in numbers and to date they have a membership of about 40 who meet weekly to practise for demonstrations and competitions and to just dance for the pleasure of dancing. She is a community communicator for the deaf and has used this to allow deaf and hard of hearing people to join in with the dancing. Ruth came to The Beacons with her son 11 years ago and Ruth, together with Sue, have formed a very good, strong working relationship as well as a strong friendship. Sue took her International Level 1 Instructor of Wheelchair Dance Sport examination in 2004, and then went on to take the
2 year Classification course to become a National Classifier for the sport and has regularly classified both National and International athletes for competitions both here in the Uk and overseas. In 2008 she successfully took her Diploma Course in Wheelchair Dance Sport, and together with Ruth went on to form the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK) in 2006. She, along with Ruth and a band of volunteers have held 3 National Championships and has jointly written the Level 1 Instructor’s Training Course for Wheelchair Dance and Wheelchair Dance Sport here in the UK. Sue travels around the regions with Ruth hosting workshops and taster sessions for all disabled and able bodied people interested in wheelchair dance.
As Chair, Sue is the representative for UK Wheelchair Dance Sport in any World and European level meetings and she works closely with a number of national wheelchair dancing and wheelchair dance sport organisations and represents the views of the membership.
Sue is the principle elected member representing the organisation, and chairs all Executive Committee Board meetings as well as the Management and Finance meetings.
Ruth Boyne (Vice Chair)
Ruth has 46 years of dealing with a multitude of disabilities including M.S., Spina Bifida, C.P., Hydrocephalus to name a few. She moved back to Devon from Scotland 11 years ago. She joined The Beacons Wheelchair Dancers along with her disabled son, and started to dance and compete in dance competitions with her son and other disabled members of the group.
In 2004 she went to Malta to do a Level 1 Instructor’s Training Course in Wheelchair Dance Sport successfully achieving a high score certification. In 2005 she undertook the 2 year training course to become a National Classifier for the Sport, completing the course in 2007 having classified at a number of National and International competitions and is to date classifying national and International World Class athletes. In 2008 after a 6 months training course in the Netherlands, she successfully passed her Diploma Course in Wheelchair Dance Sport. Together with Sue Cummings they started the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK) in 2006 which is growing in teams and dancers at a regular and sometimes dramatically fast rate. They have held 3 National Championships and have taken dancers to compete internationally from the start. They travel around the regions undertaking workshops and taster sessions and invariably leave behind a pocket of dancers who then go on to become a group in their own right, often having a member take the training course to become instructors, these now taking place in England and using the training methods and materials that have been written jointly by Ruth Boyne and Sue Cummings.
Linda Wilson (Treasurer)
As the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association Treasurer, Linda is Chair of the Management and Finance Committee.
Linda has been involved in wheelchair dance and wheelchair dance sport for a number of years since she started coming with her brother who has Spina bifida. Since then Linda has competed a number of times with her brother both on a national as well as international forms of wheelchair dance and wheelchair dance sport. Linda is a strong advocate for wheelchair dance sport and believes passionately about the difference it can make to people’s lives.
Patrick McGeough (Business Development and Funding)
Patrick is Business Development Director for the WDSA (UK), Patrick became disabled following a series of strokes in 1997. Patrick has spent most of his working career supporting charities to either be open or more accessible or see the business opportunity of the disability market. He has also spent a number of years helping disabled people set up their own charities or businesses across the East of England and London Area. Patrick has worked with and for a number of public organisations like the Regional Development Agency, Business Links, Councils and the NHS. That was until 2009 when he had a second stroke which debilitated him future, this lead to Patrick being able to do minimum activity. One area Patrick formed that supported his rehabilitation was Wheelchair dancing, Patrick and his wife were looking for a first dance for their wedding and the WDSA (UK) supported them to be able to do his first dance. In 2012 Patrick trained to become a level 2 Instructor of Wheelchair Dance and which his wife and he set up a local group in Watford.
Patrick is looking forward to developing the association to reach its full potential in working with partners and building Wheelchair dance and dance sport across the UK.
Dr Harbinder Sangha (Medical)
Dr Harbinder Sangha, MBChB, MRCGP. DOccMed, PgDip Sport & Exercise Medicine.
I am a GP with special interests in sport and exercise medicine and rehabilitation. I am currently practising in the NHS, Ministry of Defence and professional football. In the past I have worked in occupational health and held a university teaching post. I am team doctor to the FA England wheelchair football team and am pleased to also be supporting the work of the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association.
Charlene Low (Contemporary Dance)
Charlene is the Director of the Contemporary Dance and Trustee of the Board of the WDSA (UK), born in Penang, Malaysia – Charlene moved over to London at age of five where she discovered she had congenital scoliosis, with fused lower lumbar vertebrae whilst falling in love with dance all in her teens.
After training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance coupled with 10years of Shaolin Kungfu and working in Newham Sixth form College, specialising in integration in performing arts, Charlene ran her own projects teaching, performing and choreographing people with learning difficulties and disabled participants of various ages from 2-95yrs.
Sardines Dance, a collective of exceptional, integrated, contemporary dance artist’s was brought together by Charlene in 2010. Sardine’s work extends to those with profound multiple learning difficulties in various settings, from that of a relaxed community sharing to a national televised platform.
In 2011 Charlene launched ‘Moving Asia’, a series of small integrated dance projects bringing access to creativity in Asia from the UK. The pilot was a success and Sardines Dance return annually to deliver master classes, training and performances to strengthen the disabled community in Asia through dance.
Charlene draws inspiration from her participants, bringing mature heartfelt depth; social and ethical integrity to all she does to motivate, achieve and communicate successfully with others of all backgrounds and ages, delivering closer than close contact, accompanied by the deep beats and dream like freedom from Nitin Sawhney, and playing up to the classic romantic cheekiness produced by Frank Sinatra. This has led her to work with companies such as Royal Academy of Dance, CandoCo, East London Dance, Entelechy Arts, Protein Dance, South Bank Centre and many more.
Christa Udell (Ballroom and Latin)
My life is about languages and dancing. I studied French and English at the universities of Graz and Klagenfurt where I was awarded with a Master’s degree in these two languages. While studying, I was also competing in ballroom and Latin American Dances and became Austrian Champion in my class. During this period of my life I came to know my late husband Dennis Udell. Dennis, of course was a former World Champion in Ballroom and a world famous coach and adjudicator. We were happily married for 18 years till Dennis died from Parkinson’s Disease. I was fortunate enough to learn from and be trained by one of the best dancers and teachers in the world and hence, got highs qualifications in Ballroom, Latin and Freestyle. Dennis trained me to be a fellow in Ballroom as well as in Latin and I also got a Licentiate in Freestyle. I have been coaching dancing and judging for the last 20 years and I am now an examiner for the NATD, which I love immensely.
As Dennis suffered from Parkinson’s, I came into contact with the Parkinson’s Disease Organisation and came to know about movement disorders, children and adults alike. I gave Tango lessons to people suffering from nervous diseases, hence learned to know all about different illnesses. I found this very rewarding and want to keep it up. I also organised big dancing events to raise money for charity, especially for Parkinson’s Disease as Dennis suffered from it.
I hope that this background will help me to contribute ideas and help to the WDSA . I have always enjoyed judging wheelchair competitions and I am sure I will also enjoy coaching in this area.
My profession, however, is I am a foreign languages teacher at Merchant Taylor’s School, which I just love. I also teach dancing there as enrichment and I am responsible for horse riding in games.
Thank you for making me a Trustee of the WDSA and I am looking forward to working with all of you. Great times ahead.
Christa Udell MA
Ann-Marie Martin (Pre-school and Street Dance) Non Executive
After graduating with a degree (BPA) in dance from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Anne-Marie racked-up an impressive ten years’ experience performing professionally, before going on to teach children of all ages and abilities in a variety of dance styles and performance techniques.
Anne-Marie’s dancing days included performing in contemporary dance companies, pop videos, on TV – the Brit Awards and Top of the Pops to name but a few – in corporate shows and on dance tours.
Anne-Marie is now the founder and director of diddi dance – funky pre-school dance classes for girls and boys.
Lyn Holding (Disciplinary Chair) Non Executive
My name is Lyn and I am looking forward to learning more about wheelchair dancing. I have just taken early retirement from work. I have MS and use a scooter to get around.
I worked for Ofsted in compliance investigation and enforcement. I managed a national team of staff in safeguarding young people. I attended court and I am used to the court systems. I have chaired a number of disciplinary hearings.
I have two adult children and three wonderful grandchildren.
Rhona Coughlan (Northern and Republic of Ireland Representative)
Rhona has worked within the Dance industry for nearly twenty years and with that has a vast range of experience that would complement any integrated dance company. She set up Ireland’s first Integrated Dance Company Wheels in Motion at the tender age of eighteen which had great success and performed in many venues around Ireland. She set-up and performed with Croi Glan Integrated Dance Company. She successfully performed in a number of festivals including Dublin Fringe Festival, Cork Mid-Summer Festival and the Vibrate Festival (2006-2010) and has also performed internationally in both the UK and the USA. In 2011, she joined forced with Spoken Dance an Integrated Dance company based in Limerick. She has been involved with wheelchair dance sports association for a number of years and recently joined the Board of Directors. She is the Irish representative for wheelchair dance sports association in the UK. Integrated Ballroom Dance Ireland will have its first come and try weekend in September 2013.
Kathy Gibson-Organ (England Representative)
Kathy has been voted on to the Executive Committee by the membership to represent the views of Instructors, officials and members in England on the WDSA (UK) Board.
Kathy believes very strongly in the benefits of wheelchair dancing and wheelchair dance sport and as a member of one of the WDSA (UK) dance groups called the Isca Wheelchair Dancers, Kathy hope that she will represent the members in England openly and fairly. Kathy is also a member of the National Team/Branch Advisory Group.
Sharon Saltigerald (American Representative)
I lived between the UK and USA since 2002 and primarily in Appleton Wisconsin for the past three years. I have been involved with dance and theatre since a child and in my adult life I have taken this passion into my work supporting children and adults with both physical and learning disabilities. I have run an inclusive arts group in the UK and this led me to investigate the opportunities for wheelchair dance. I googled my way to Sue and then took the level one wheelchair dance instructor course in 2012 I use the wheelchair dance in my work in the USA and have done displays in Appleton with a dance partner who is a wheelchair dancer from the UK which was received with a lot of interest. I am in the process now of starting a group her in Appleton.
There are four trustee positions available at the moment please see here for details