A first for ballroom dancing at USU

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For the first time in Utah State University history, a student in a wheelchair has joined the ballroom dance class. Not only does she participate in classroom activities, but she also participates in competitions.

Brittany Cox is a second-year social work student at USU. Seventeen years ago, she was in a car accident in Logan Canyon that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

“I’ve loved dancing since I was little,” Cox said. “When my accident happened, I didn’t even think it was possible to dance.”

But over the years, she’s found a way to keep doing what she loves.

“Over the years as I got more involved in dancing, I realized they had wheelchair ballroom dancing competitions, but they’re either on the east coast or on the coast Where is. There’s nothing in Utah,” Cox said.

She signed up for ballroom dancing this semester to complete a PE credit. She and the rest of the ballroom class entered a competition. Brittany and her partner, Garrett, won first place for the waltz.

Anne Francis, the ballroom dance teacher, said it was a good learning experience for herself and for the students in the class.

“Dancing with Brittany helped the men develop better leadership skills because Brittany couldn’t have moved on the floor without the men having tone in their arms. The skill of having tone in their arms seems quite simple but usually takes time to learn,” Francis said.

Not only did they learn the technical aspects of dancing, but also consideration and friendship.

“Brittany brought out the best in everyone. Everyone in the class was helpful and considerate,” Francis said.

Everyone in the class admired Brittany’s courage and determination to do what she loves, no matter what.

“Having Brittany in class was a great experience. It reminded me that limitations are usually self-imposed by our way of thinking. Brittany has shown that if we’re willing to take risks and trust ourselves and others, we can accomplish or do anything,” Francis said.

Brittany said her experience here at USU has been very fulfilling so far, not only in the classroom but also on campus.

“I love the campus here. Especially with the winter, I’m really impressed with how the school keeps the campus clear of snow, whereas when I go into town it’s not that easy to get around,” Cox said.

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