Support Wheelchair Dancing in Berryville




What Matters To Us

What matters to Social Graces is people.  We teach for the benefit of the individual.  We want peoples lives to be enriched and we think our fun unique teaching style of this wonderful hobby that is ballroom dance can do it.

Our students enjoy the plethora of benefits that come from ballroom dancing. And although some of you may have your limitations, like injuries from time to time or sore joints for different reasons, Social Graces instructors can easily accommodate the situation by taking out certain elements from the dances to keep from exacerbating the causes of your limitations.

People that are unable to walk, for whatever reason and for any amount of time, may think that they are unable to enjoy many of the benefits that come from taking ballroom dance lessons. But as many of you have probably heard, ballroom dancing for those in a wheelchair is a growing and popular sport.
Social Graces has the opportunity to become certified in wheelchair Dancing and to start providing this to the community at large.

Who Will Benefit?

Some of you may recall the wheelchair student I had many years ago before I realized that wheelchair Dancing had an organized syllabus and regular competitions around the United States and world. 
This student was older and could walk at an extremely slow pace with a cane. She had danced in her younger years and wanted to enjoy moving in an open space, to music, once again. Imagine being largely immobile but still being able to enjoy the touch of another’s hand. Still being able to enjoy feeling the strength and stability in a partner‘s gait and frame. Still being able to enjoy the feeling of gliding across a floor as the windows and artwork of the room pass by your field of vision while other dancers came in and out of your peripheral vision.  Feeling the joy of being part of a larger community all somehow moving together in the same story called Foxtrot or Rumba.  Being committed to an idea called dance, with a person called partner, in a place called a dance floor, with a group called a community.  All following a similar storyline that is somehow uniquely different and fitting to each person’s personal story.  All of this and more can most certainly be enjoyed by the person that many might call disabled.  But I assure you, they are able to feel quite richly what ballroom dance has to offer.  Some might say even more so than the average student, as wheelchair students are not bound by the limitations of foot patterns and are more free to enjoy the other aspects that are more often intertwined with the artistic pleasures that many advanced students consider a true dance experience. 

HowWe Do It

Instructors at Social Graces are are eager to implement a program for wheelchair dancing, but we need to overcome a few hurdles first. In order to offer this incredible service to these students with unique circumstances, the studio must train and certify instructors, purchase specialized equipment, and assemble a team of volunteers.

First, the training is quite expensive and time-consuming which means special care and devotion will need to be had.

Second, dance wheelchairs can be quite expensive.  Many dance wheelchairs are fitted for the user. Imagine being a follower and the only thing turning or moving your wheelchair is the power from your partner and the strength of your midsection.  We would want the fit of the wheelchair to be as comfortable as possible, and the friction coefficient with the inner workings of the wheelchair and its connection to the floor to be as small as possible. Dance wheelchairs can range from $500-$4000 on the commonly used end.  I’m hoping to achieve somewhere in the middle of that price range.

Lastly, reaching the community will be a very different experience.  If done where wheelchairs are often used, the dancers would need larger than normal spaces to move and each wheelchair student would need an able-bodied partner as part of the partnership.  I’m hoping to create some kind of program with Shenandoah University to regularly provide such partners. Should people take private lessons at the studio many would have greater obstacles to overcome than most to get to the studio which limits one’s ability to partake in these wonderful benefits. 


Where Will the Service be Offered?

Wheelchair dancing can be taught in any studio or facility that is equipped for wheelchairs, and it is my hope to make the necessary changes to the studio to accommodate wheelchair dancing.

When Can We Begin? 

Social Graces will be able to open this service to the community only when staff is trained and certified, and the studio is equipped to accommodate students in wheelchairs. To do this we need help from our incredible community.
My request for you as a lover of dance or for someone who simply wants to help enrich the community with which they live, is for help in this endeavor.  The studio is asking for monetary donations to cover the cost of the training and the expense of purchasing a high-quality studio wheelchair that can be used for those taking lessons.
We will cover the costs of lost wages due to shifting schedules as we add in training and extra payroll costs due to training of staff and such. We will cover any upgrades we need to make to the floor or building to make it wheelchair accessible.  And we hope to find a few key people that are willing to volunteer their time to set up the relationships needed to offer such a unique service, including setting up programs with places like a Shenandoah University and others to find able-bodied partners committed to the cause, and a few possible locations that have large enough floors willing to allow wheelchair classes.
We will find a small group of friendly caring faces that are willing to sit down with those who may be in wheelchairs that have given up on ever obtaining the feelings that I have described above and encouraging them to try it so they can truly see that many of the benefits can still be attained. We will continue organizing volunteers to help in organizing the many more hurdles that are likely to come. 

How You Can Help

Our studio has often been a hub for such wonderful services and I am happy to have such a dedicated studio family. In the words of a student when we were building something years ago, “I may not be able to pick up a hammer but I can pick up a pen to write you a check”. So I am calling on those that can pick up a pen, pick up a phone, or pick up the hand of someone whose life can be dramatically changed by simply sharing with them the wonderful world of ballroom dance.  Encapsulating the care and devotion that is somehow uniquely provided by Social Graces Ballroom Dance Studio.

Who knows, maybe your grandmother, or family member will partake of this life-changing experience. Please share this with friends, family, or any local businesses that you think may be interested in donating and let’s get this program off to a good start.

Any donations can be sent by check to the address below, we also except credit cards in the studio, or you can pay directly through our PayPal account right here.

Anyone that donates $100 or more, Will be invited to our thank you party in April where we will have brief dance lessons throughout the event so beginners or non-dancers will have fun. The event will also include open dance refreshments, performance by the staff, and a demonstration of wheelchair dancing and a soirée of memories most certainly. And remember these donations are not exclusive to dancers of Social Graces, so share this email with all of your friends and family. Let’s get this program rolling. And don’t worry my wheelchair Dancing will be far better than my puns. 

Thank you to everyone. 
Freddie Ciampi 


“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

-Anne Lamott



Restore with Dance

Social Graces Ballroom Dance Studio

639 East Main St.

Berryville, VA 22611