Dance and wheelchair. This two words are often considered by people as excluding each other, because in common opinion dance is associated with couples gliding on the dance-floor or people moving by rhythm in a disco. Those, who know about the wheelchair dance will be enriched by an extraordinary, elevating experience. He/she will meet smiling, joyful or thoughtful faces. He/she will see noiselessly gliding dancers in colorful, wonderful dresses, moving to hot or smooth rhythms. This vision is not doleful to the spectator, not pity-raising but in the beginning some kind of amazement, later a feeling of marvel and happiness, joy.
We established the Gördülő (Rolling) Dance-Ensemble in May 1999. The members of the ensemble are all disabled people using a wheelchair. Some of them because of an accident, others because of illness. In the first months we thought, that the ensemble will serve our own entertainment. But after half a year it became clear, that there was a lot more about it. Our performances, needing special choreography, are an unique pattern in the international world of dance. Today our performance of more than 3 hours, the Gördülő-Show, has a widespread repertory of various styles and types of dances, from folk-dance to Can-Can and waltz to modern Show-dance. With the means of the dance we are able to express, that even a person in a wheelchair might live a complete life, defeat physical barriers and create a valuable, enduring artistic creation, which is also a production which entertains the spectators.
Each event is some kind of approach-forming, first hand during joint programs with the upcoming generation to develop a healthy culture of habits. Even a disabled person might be conscious, able of self-recognition and self-development, living an independent and active life according to his/her abilities.
Our activity also support rehabilitation. The goal is that by using the restored or remaining abilities of the disabled person he/she might again take place in the society and that instead of injuries and disabilities the individual values will come into the focus of attention. In other the joy of the dance we try to transmit the approach that with persistence, the will to fight, the acceptance of ourselves and of others we will be able to reach everything in our life. It is important to us, that by our activity those thought will be brought to the most widespread layers of society, so with the world-language of dance disabled and healthy people will come closer together.
The dance is helping to overcome violence and opens the way towards tolerance, facilitates integration of minorities into the society. The feeling of freedom and joy is not a question of healthy legs and perfect body, but humanity and considering each other is able to connect healthy and disabled people. The audience understands the message, we have since a lot of time ago formulated for ourselves: this creating work is part of the integration of disabled people into society. We build up a bridge between wheelchair users and so-called healthy people. We wish to offer to our disabled fellows self-confidence and courage. We hope, that our example will inspire them to make their dreams, goals become true!
Beyond the artistic work our activity bears with social benefit, too. The venues of our performances have in a lot of cases to be made barrier-free, and they will stay so after our performance, too. Often the result is not only the physical barrier-free environment, but it also serves as a social awareness-forming, supporting integration, and making “barrier-free minds”.
We realized, that our dance-production is an efficient tool to promote Equality of opportunity, to form awareness towards the “healthy outside-world”. We have ca. 30 opportunities a year to stage in a lot of Hungarian villages and abroad. Other the love of the spectators our success is valued with a lot of rewards i.e. the „Post Scriptum” Award, awarded at the Kortárs Táncművészeti Fesztivál (Festival of Contemporary Dance-Arts) at Veszprém in 2002, the possibility of taking part in the Ball of the Austrian Embassy at the Szépművészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) in 2003. In 2005 Rita Sárai, the artistic director and dancer-choreographer of the ensemble, who even before her accident taught dance and worked out choreographies, got awarded by the Pannon GSM Példakép Alapítvány (Pannon GSM Icon Foundation). In 2007 we have been invited to dance in honor of the Spanish Queen, Sofia. The media showed a vivid interest in the work of our ensemble, right from the beginning. Besides uncountable newspaper-articles, TV- and radio-reports, a longer documentary-film about our live has been shot in Summer 2001 entitled: „Gördülő világ” (Gördülő world). A publication entitled: „…és így táncolunk mi” (…and so are we dancing) has been published in 2004, with the personal statements of our members. In 2006 a new documentary-film has been shot, entitled: "Gördülő Show" (Gördülő Show). In February 2010 our 2nd report-book has been published: „...és 10 éve így táncolunk mi” (… and so are we dancing since 10 years), written by one founding member of our ensemble, Györgyi Ungvári. The wheelchair-dance gave a positive change to the live of all of us.
In 2001 we established a foundation to realize our goals. The efficiency and efficacy of the Foundation is best shown by the following opinion, sent to us by a spectator, after one of our performances: „I went to Lakitelek without knowing, why. Even if I would have known, that we have been invited to the performance of the Gördülő Dance-Ensemble, I wouldn’t have known about it. If I would have known, that this meant people in wheelchairs dancing, surely I wouldn’t have gone there. And so, yesterday, I’m sitting in a hall filled to capacity and then arrive the wheelchairs. Music starts in and they are dancing. From teenagers to age about fifty, women and men. After a while I’m not looking at the dance, but in their faces. They are smiling, they are dancing while smiling! This hasn’t been an artificial smile. They were together, with each other, with the music and reached to tell us, that nothing is hurting them. I began to push back my tears and began to be awfully ashamed. This days I had been overwhelmed by my own distress. I was depressed because I had no job, because my fried left me. I licked my wounds, was in distress, didn’t go out. IN FULL HEALTH! I had no goals and thought my life as entirely unjust. They have met each other, they said yes to life, a life most of the healthy people would consider it not worth it. But I resolutely felt: there is a lot, I have to learn from them.”
Remarks like this we get after each performance, which gives us the insurance, that it is worth it to follow this extraordinary mission.