''Oftentimes people think disability is inability, which it’s not.'' – Mary Verdi-Fletcher
When was the last time you felt fully alive, free to express yourself fully and completely?
In an effort to protect ourselves from harm or being exposed to what we aren’t comfortable with, we often will create mental barriers that can hold us back. What would life look like if we decided to knock those barriers down? What then would be possible?
Today I’m talking with my inspirational friend Mary Verdi-Fletcher. She’s here to discuss how she’s using dance to educate and inspire the disabled and able bodied alike to believe our disabilities don’t define us.
Mary Verdi-Fletcher is a true pioneer. She is America’s first professional wheelchair dancer and has taken a field where disabilities were not accepted and worked endlessly to shatter stereotypes, change attitudes, bring hope, advocate for inclusion, and essentially be an agent of change.
Despite being born with spina bifida, Mari has worked tirelessly to open the doors of opportunity for people with disabilities who wanted to pursue their goals on an equal ground with their non-disabled peers. This determination ultimately led her to found The Dancing Wheels Company in 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, which was specifically formed to employ professionally trained dancers, with and without disabilities.
The Dancing Wheels Company has reached audiences of over 5 million people with awe-inspiring school assembly programs, workshops, residencies, and main stage concert performances worldwide.
If you’ve ever had moments of doubt or convinced yourself that you couldn't do something, I can promise this conversation will show you what’s possible when you believe in yourself.
''The arts are an avocation that chooses you. You don’t choose it.'' – Mary Verdi-Fletcher
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