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This is a pretty awesome invention, way too cool not to share... an electronic dance wheelchair. The Reeve Foundation has had the pleasure of awarding several organizations related to dance with Quality of Life grants but I have never seen something like this. As inventor, Merry Lynn Morris, describes it: "It's just like any other dance.. it's just movement, it's just motion, it's connection, it's communication, expression. The fact that it is an assistive device is not that different than being a type of dance shoe."
More description and video from the Tampa Bay Times:
The chair is stately with a synthetic round seat that's clear, designed to almost disappear under the dancer. It is sturdy enough for a second dancer to stand on, spinning, leg extended in full arabesque.
The most important feature of the chair is the person sitting in it. He is in control. When he leans, the chair moves. The wheels can propel the chair in any direction using the slightest movement of a body.
It's an extension of dance, Morris said, not an obstacle. No one thinks twice about a tap shoe, or a ballet shoe with a wooden block on the end. Think of Broadway dances, the rolling desk chairs and elaborate sets. Think of the hoops and flames of Cirque du Soleil.
People have a harder time getting past a wheelchair.
"You create these devices and people are frightened of them," said Morris, 38. "Get out of the way, here comes the wheelchair user."
Reality doesn't have to be so black and white, and dance doesn't have to be so exact. It's something she has learned over the years.
Read the rest, and be sure to watch the video, it's pretty amazing.
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