Dorothy Liddell

A warm welcome from the Wheelchair Dance Association, fondly known as the WDA. My name is Dorothy Liddell, I am chairman of the WDA.

I was born and brought up in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland and moved to Lytham St Annes in England in May 1991, and still live there. In 1975 I started teaching wheelchair dancing at the Westerlea School for Spastics, run by the “Scottish Council for Spastics”, now known as “Capability”. I was employed as a sports instructor but was asked to take on the duties of dance teacher. I named the team “Spinning McLeods” and they were the first of many children to dance under that name. I started a second team called “Reels-on-Wheels” and for some time the two teams competed in different categories. In 1991 some of our dancers were invited to demonstrate couples dancing in Holland. This was a first for two power chair dancers to dance together and they were well received.

When the Scottish Wheelchair Dance Association was formed in 1982 I was elected as chairman and served on and off between 1982 and 1991 when I had to step down to live in England.

The National Executive Committee increased their regional representations to two in 1977 and I was elected to serve as one of the Scottish representatives until 1984 when I was elected National Chairman. Twenty five years on I am still chairman of WDA, enjoying the support and camaraderie of our office bearers and committee members.

Over the years we have changed and added to our Festival Rules, Judging Criteria, Constitution, increased the Classification Assessment from two to three in both adult and juniors. These range from good hands and chair control to severe disability and poor chair control (more information on classification and assessments may be found under Festival Rules) always improving, ensuring the health, safety and well being of our dancers, at the same time, keeping alive the spirit of dance.

Along with the every day management of the Association my duties are varied. I co-ordinate the bi-annual championships with input from the Executive Committee, oversee hotel accommodation, menus, dance floor, music etc, co-ordinate two executive and one AGM meetings per year. I enjoy acting as MC if requested to, at either regional or championship festivals, presenting trophies or medals and meeting hands on with our dancers.

My judging experiences range from regional festivals to national championships and once in Denmark, many years ago. The judging criteria has changed over the years to meet the input of different categories. I enjoy the challenge of learning the set dances and the many other sections that may be entered competitively, it is important that judges do their homework well, in preparation to the competition, bringing their expertise and loyalty to our much deserved dancers.

I represented Great Britain at the first working committee meeting held in Copenhagen in July 1998 along with other interested parties from Belgium, Germany, Norway and Sweden, chaired by Gertrude Kromboltz. This was before the Wheelchair Dance Association considered participating under the umbrella of I.S.O.D, many meetings of which I attended in various countries over the following 5 years.

On a personal note, I have a son and daughter. Stephen, my son, was born with cerebral palsy and a learning disability. He lives with me.

My daughter, Margaret, is married and lives in a little village on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

I work full time in my sister’s business retailing school uniforms. This keeps me very busy, especially at “back-to-school time”, July, August and early September when there never seems to be enough hours in the day!

I enjoy swimming, sewing, decorating and have a passion for football, especially the Celtic Football team. I also love driving and spending time with all my family at least once a year, usually in a hot country when the four of us do absolutely nothing but swim, eat and drink (I have been known to enjoy a wee dram or two!) and dance till the wee small hours.

I hope you have enjoyed a little bit of insight into my world and my world of Wheelchair Dance.


Kindest regards

Dot Liddell

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