South Korean Combi Standard Class I world #2 Wheelchair DanceSport couple Hye-Jung Jang and Jaewoo Lee will head to October’s Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games motivated by the power of dance.
“At first, I danced to have a sense of stability and fun,” Jang said. “However as time went by, my dream was springing up through dance sport.”
Jang’s dreams recently came true when she was picked for the national team.
However according to Jang, when she first started Wheelchair DanceSport it was an unpopular sport. There were no Asian Games at the time and many people questioned why she wanted to participate in something so unknown.
Despite the unpopularity, Jang continued to practice and get better.
“When I had a difficult time in my life, I started wheelchair modern dance,” Jang said. “I was able to remind myself of the meaning of life with this as a momentum and I had a sense of stability as well. It is no exaggeration to say that wheelchair dance has made me.”
After an accident at the age of four, Jang suffered a serious spinal-cord injury.
“From then on, the wheelchair acted as my legs and I acted as a body with the wheelchair,” she said. “I tried to move very freely. After I had started dancing, I realised that my body could not only feel freely but I also can enjoy and have fun with the wheelchair.”
Jang, 37, started modern dance in school and had the opportunity to pursue dance as a sport in 2001.
“I really like modern dance because it can express inside beauty and the movement is really graceful,” she explained.
Jang has just placed second in the 2014 IPC Wheelchair DanceSport Asian Pacific Cup in Beijing, CHN, and plans to enter the Continents’ Cup in St. Petersburg, RUS, with her partner Jaewoo Lee.
The two met in 2011, when Lee was only a high school student. They started dancing together soon after.
Jang and Lee practice twice a week in order to prepare for competition.
All of the work paid off when the pair ranked # 2 in the combi standard class 1 in the world in 2013, just behind Slovakian couple Peter Vidasic and Helen Kasicka.
Looking ahead to 2014, the opportunities become even wider since it is the biggest calendar year for the sport in its history.
With all of the upcoming competitions and pressure, Jang keeps her style and her strategies simple.
“My best strategy for a competition is to enjoy the dance and express more naturalness,” Jang said. “I don’t feel any discomfort as a disabled person and I express naturalness and fun with music.”
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