Editor’s Note: Chances are, you’ve seen these ladies performing on social media or at a dance event before today, but you may have known their dance troupe by a different name. Formerly known as the Walk and Roll Dance Team, the Rollettes’ organization has evolved and they are now embracing an EPIC project as part of their team focus within the disability community.
Chelsie Hill dreamed of becoming a professional dancer before a car accident left her paralyzed from the waist down in 2010, but she’s found a way to follow her passion while embracing her wheelchair. She’s the founder of the Rollettes, a dance team that rolls while they rock the stage.
See Chelsie’s Story Via NowThis:
Wheel:Life caught up with Sara Koszyk and Morgan Ott, who are members of the Rollettes. When they joined the dance team, both women were looking for support within the wheelchair community and a place to meet people.
“The team holds practice at a local studio called Evolution Dance in Burbank, CA but our teammates live all over California,” Morgan explains. “Those who live near Burbank go to classes twice a week while those farther away learn new dance routines through video.”
Morgan was born and raised in Northern California but currently resides in Orange County. “My days are usually filled with school, work, and, of course, dance. Since being injured in December of 2014, I have found that dance is a great way to express myself and break out of my own comfort zone,” Morgan adds.
Sara was born with Spina Bifida at the T12 level (about the waist down). “Despite being in a wheelchair my entire life, I have never let it stop me from pursuing my dreams,” she says.
Currently a full time student at California State University, Fullerton, Sara is working hard to earn her teaching credentials. “I enjoy trying new things and have participated in many sports such as Cheerleading, Baseball, Tennis, Whitewater Rafting, and now I have become a dancer,” she adds.
Dancing helps me express myself and it gives me an opportunity to learn about my body and not be afraid to put myself in the public’s eye.
See the Rollettes performing at Abilities Expo events nationwide throughout the year! You can get a free pass to catch them in action here.
You Can Try Out for the Rollettes
Twice a year, the Rollettes host a week-long dance intensive that is open to all abilities. This gives dancers a chance to test their limits, learn challenging and fun choreography, an make new friends. The Rollettes believe that dance is dance whether you are walking or rolling, so if you like to get your groove on, send them an email to book a spot for their next intensive!
Introducing The E.P.I.C. Project – Empowering People in Chairs
The success of the Rollettes dance team has fueled their motivation to support Chelsie Hill’s next dream – the E.P.I.C. Project. Founded as a southern California based 501(C)3 non profit organization, the E.P.I.C. Project works to empower people in chairs through resources, equipment, and experiences.
Their mission centers on offering help to deserving members of the wheelchair community to have their needs met and to live their biggest dreams. Through Items of Empowerment, they are able to help those who use wheelchairs to live their fullest life.
“So far, we’ve donated a wheelchair, wardrobe makeovers, and sponsorships to attend the Rollettes dance camp,” Chelsie says. “We are also sponsoring a child who wants to compete in the WCMX wheelchair skateboard competition next year.”
Sara (above) was one of the first E.P.I.C. Project recipients. Because she has spina bifida, and has used a wheelchair for her whole life, she has always had trouble finding clothes that fit right.
When the E.P.I.C. Project heard she had never once worn a pair of jeans, they had to help. With the help of local partner Ability Jeans for Her, E.P.I.C Project had three pairs of jeans custom made for Sara’s body type!
“We hope these jeans make Sara feel special and empowered to shine her light!” Chelsie adds with a smile.
The EPIC project will have its first fundraising event on January 26, 2017 at the Cupcake Theatre in North Hollywood. Learn more about the program and how you can participate at http://www.theepicproject.org/.