Growing up with a disability since the age of four years old, Diane Murphy always wanted to do what everybody else could do. Needless to say, Diane became an accomplished swimmer at an early age, then a competitive equestrian in her adulthood, and now a talented performer and instructor for American DanceWheels Foundation.
"It had always been my inner desire and wish to be able to dance from the time I was a little girl. In 2008, I read an article in a local publication about ADF teaching a wheelchair dance class at the Widener Memorial School in Philadelphia. I was skeptical about the idea of dancing in a wheelchair, but I made the decision to check out one of the classes. I was up for a new challenge! I went to a class just to observe, and was invited to join in. I got the true sense of what it feels like to dance to the rhythm of the music with a standing partner. It was real ballroom partner dancing, and I was immediately hooked!
Dancing and horseback riding were two sports that I never thought possible because of being paralyzed as a result of contracting polio. Riding dressage and wheelchair ballroom dancing has played a very influential part in my life. They both afforded me the opportunity to build both physical and emotional confidence. I love the artistic athleticism, creative and expressive elegance, and musicality aspects that both of these sports encompass. They are both actually very physical, yet elegant and artistic. Both offer the benefit of developing good posture and coordination while increasing stamina and core strength.
American DanceWheels laid the building blocks that gave way to the discovery of a passion that truly changed my life by experiencing new challenges, while taking me places I never thought possible. If anyone would have told me that I would someday take dance lessons from a professional ballroom dance instructor, I may have said to them, "In your dreams!"