A CHIPPENHAM dance teacher is proving that disability is no obstacle when she and two of her pupils represent England in the ICU Cheerleading World Championships next week.
Emily Alner, with 15-year-old Molly Gale and 14-year-old Annabel Flay, will compete in the ParaCheer division of the championships in Disney World, Florida.
Leader of cheerleading group Chippenham Vibes for 12 years and the Emily Alner Dance Academy for nine years, Miss Alner has grown her hobby into a full-time occupation and has not let her Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects her movement, stop her from dancing and competing.
“All the collagen in my limbs is faulty and my joints over extend, and it’s quite a good point to make that not all people who are disabled are in a wheelchair,” said the 33-year-old.
“At the dance academy we have two girls with downs syndrome and we have all abilities, it’s inclusive.”
Molly Gale, a pupil at Hardenhuish School, suffers from chronic regional pain syndrome and has been with the cheerleading and dance groups for eight years, while Sheldon School pupil, Annabel Flay, has been taught by Miss Alner for more than three years.
Both girls will compete in the ParaCheer Freestyle Pom while Miss Alner will compete in the ParaCheer section – both of which contain people with and without disabilities.
“We’re definitely looking forward to it, we had our showcase in Coventry on Monday,” said Miss Alner.
“It’s really good for people their age and just in general.
“Chippenham Vibes go all over the country and perform in massive arenas in front of thousands of people and it’s really good for confidence.”
“The level of commitment you need as well, if you’re ill you still have to be there and I know that Annabel is interested in going into teaching dance.
“I represented England last year in a showcase but this is the first year that anyone is actually competing, and I went to the European Championships in Slovenia with Molly in 2015, but this is like the Olympics of cheerleading.
“Now that it’s been recognised as a sport it’s a big deal for us.”