Blind dancers say ballroom contest was a dream

Molly Rendall and  Martia Bevan
Molly Randall and Martia Bevan were among those who performed [BBC]

Blind and partially-sighted dancers who have taken part in an international ballroom competition have said it was "an absolute dream" and showed "we can do amazing things".

They were partnered with volunteer guides for the Open Worlds Dance Competition at Blackpool Tower, which featured a category for blind people in the UK for the first time.

Rashmi Becker, who founded Step Change Studios to improve dance accessibility, said it was fundamental for the industry to "provide inclusive opportunities".

She added: "We don't want this to be a one-off."

Dancers with visual impairments were partnered by sighted volunteers
Dancers were partnered with volunteer guides [BBC]

About 340,000 people are registered blind or partially sighted in the UK, with a total of more than two million living with sight loss.

The Open Worlds Dance Competition was the first contest for the participants, who never had any dance experience before joining classes.

One of those who took part, Martia Bevan, said it had been difficult to get involved in dancing previously.

She said: "People just didn't understand that, with the right sort of situation and arrangements, people can dance.

"It was like a breath of fresh air just being in an environment where nothing was too much."

interior of Blackpool Tower Ballroom
Participants said it was a “dream” to dance at the ballroom, which was built in 1894 [PA Media]

Another contestant, Molly Randall, who lost her sight suddenly, said: "It means that we can we can show that we can dance.

"We can do amazing things."

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