The Performing Arts Series at Shepherd University (PASS) will present Dancing Wheels, America's premier physically integrated dance company, on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in the Frank Center.
Dancing Wheels is the first modern dance company to integrate professional stand-up and sit-down (wheelchair) dancers. Mary Verdi-Fletcher, president and founding artistic director, started the company in 1980. Born with spina bifida, Verdi-Fletcher wanted to offer others with disabilities full and equal access into the world of dance. For more than a quarter of a century, Dancing Wheels has performed, taught and inspired children and adults of all abilities around the world.
In the United States, the company presents more than 100 performances reaching audiences of 125,000 each year. Dancing Wheels serves as a source of inspiration in the development of other integrated dance programs nationwide with performances that span the globe, including an ambassadorial tour to Prague, Guatemala and Poland. The company represented the United States and the state of Ohio with a full concert performance at the International Very Special Arts Festival in Brussels, Belgium and Los Angeles, Calif., and opened the first National Conference of Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Dancing Wheels has been featured in numerous publications and television programs including CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and Good Morning America. The company is the recipient of the 1998 Governor's Award for Outstanding Outreach in Ohio and the 1997 National Rehabilitation Achievement Award.
Tickets to the event may be purchased through the Shepherd University Bookstore at 304-876-5219, www.shepherdbook.com, or on the ground level of the Shepherd Student Center, 210 North King Street, Shepherdstown. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for senior citizens/Shepherd staff, $5 for kids under 18 and free to Shepherd students with a valid Rambler ID while supplies last.