The Rollettes, a Los Angeles-based dance team composed of seven women who use wheelchairs, is going virtual for this weekend’s eighth annual Rollettes Experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In previous years, women who use wheelchairs from around the globe have traveled to Los Angeles to meet others with similar disabilities, but the coronavirus precluded an in-person event this year. Instead, the virtual Rollettes Experience will take place Friday and Saturday, and is open to women of all ages and disabilities.
“My favorite part about the Rollettes Experience is that we see women and children from all over the world bond with others like them,” Rollettes founder and CEO Chelsie Hill said. “We have the opportunity to connect, learn and dance. We are so honored to have built a place for women with disabilities to come together and gain independence. This live virtual experience this year will allow more women and kids to experience this community who may not be able to come to Los Angeles due to finances or physical ability.”
The Rollettes Experience will be hosted by Hill and the Rollettes team, which also includes Broadway star and Tony Award winner Ali Stroker, makeup influencer Steph Aiello, paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann and many more trailblazers from the disability community.
The two-day event will consist of seminars on working out, stretching, makeup classes and dance classes led by well-known Hollywood choreographers. The Rollettes virtual experience will include two panels on topics surrounding disability.
The first panel, How to Own Your Disability, will be led by disabled model and actress Jillian Mercado, five-time U.S. paralympic medalist Alana Nichols, founder and CEO of Cur8able Stephanie Thomas and founder and CEO of Ingenium Manufacturing Arielle Rausin.
The second panel — On Dating, Relationships and Intimacy with a Disability — will be led by disability rights activist and sex educator Izzie Bullock, Rebekah Taussig — author of “Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body” — and disability advocate Alyssa Higgins. The event will conclude with a virtual pajama party and the Boundless Babe Awards, which highlights powerhouse women who have attended the event.
The Rollettes were founded in 2012, when Hill sustained a spinal cord injury months before her high school graduation. A dancer since the age of 2, she wanted to meet other female wheelchair users her age. She reached out to seven women and invited them to come dance in her hometown in Monterey, California.
For more on The Rollettes, visit rollettesdance.com.
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