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Dancing Wheels celebrates universality of dance

Friday, September 23, 2016

The human body has no limitations.

This fundamental belief has fueled America’s premier multi-arts and disabilities organization, Dancing Wheels Company, since 1990 when it was founded by artistic director Mary Verdi-Fletcher, one of the world’s first and foremost professional wheelchair dancers.

After already inspiring more than 5 million people worldwide, the professional, physically integrated dance company is coming to Erie on Friday, Oct. 7, to perform at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.

Dancing Wheels has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America and on the television special “Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope” to spread a message of inclusivity and accessibility. The company unites dancers with and without disabilities to continually expand the reach of artistic possibilities and to celebrate the universal spirit of dance.

The Mercyhurst community is invited to share in this inspiration and hope firsthand, as nearly 20 dancers — two of whom are Mercyhurst alumnae — will perform selections from Dancing Wheels’ extensive repertory, including a new work based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, with music by David Bowie.

In addition to the premiere of Labyrinth: A Tribute, Dancing Wheels Company will perform two additional selections that showcase the company’s versatility and strength: Walls of Glass choreographed by Lisa K. Lock and an excerpt of anømalies choreographed by Mark Tomasic.

Mercyhurst University graduates include company members Sara Lawrence-Sucato ’06, and Kelly Clymer ’12.

“I’m excited to return to my alma mater to perform with Dancing Wheels, and I’m looking forward to performing in Labyrinth: A Tribute in which I play the lead character,” said Lawrence-Sucato. She added that due to a weather-related cancellation of the previously scheduled debut of Labyrinth in August, the cast is eager to perform this for the first time.

“Mercyhurst does such a great job bringing in entertaining, innovative and informative performances, and I have wanted Dancing Wheels Company to be presented by the university ever since I graduated,” she said.

Lawrence-Sucato describes her experience with Dancing Wheels as “gratifying” due to her ability to give back to the community through performances, inclusive classes and outreach opportunities. Lawrence-Sucato will have another opportunity to give back when she joins the company’s founder and artistic director prior to Friday’s main event to teach a physically integrated dance class to Mercyhurst dance majors.

Dancing Wheels will also perform Alice in Wonderland… like its never been seen before! during a special student matinee at 10 a.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.

For more information about Dancing Wheels Company, visit dancingwheels.org. For tickets, visit miac.mercyhurst.edu or call the box office at 824-3000.

Dancing Wheels is sponsored by Cohen & Grigsby and The CW. The 2016-17 MIAC Live season is sponsored by Cumulus Media, with additional support from the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA).