It’s Safe To Dance, Right?

Last week’s episode of Glee featured a dream sequence in which Artie (aka ‘Glee kid in the wheelchair’) gets out of his wheelchair and does a dance routine which most everyday pedestrians could only dream of doing. The director of the episode (who also directed ‘Dr Horribles Sing along blog’ which is fantastic – youtube it!) said that he thought Kevin McHale, who plays Artie, is one of the best dancers in the Glee cast and if that dance routine is anything to go by, he’s right!

A lot of people have disagreed with this dance sequence and I must admit that when I first started watching it I immediately thought “WTF?” However at the end of the number Artie is dropped back into his chair and the camera zooms out to show him alone again in the shopping centre, no trace of the dozens of dancers who surrounded him just seconds before. Quite touching, I thought!

I know that maybe a disabled actor should have been cast in the role and I know that some people who use wheelchairs might be offended but honestly, I see why they did it.

It showed exactly how I feel in the space of five minutes. When I dream, I dream that I walk, I make references to my invisible wheelchair, but it’s not there. Just like Artie, if I could go back and repeat my life out of my chair, I would be dancing on the ceiling. Sometimes it gets me down; sometimes I look for cures, like Artie, but most of the time I just carry on dancing.

The episode finished with a touching rendition of ‘Dream a Little Dream of me’ which was sung by Artie. It summed up the episode perfectly and displayed what the writers were really trying to get across; Artie has dreams, some dreams are there to grab and others are too far out of reach, but that doesn’t make them any less of a dream.

Kevin McHale is a brilliant actor, a fantastic singer and arguably the best dancer in Glee…even in his chair! In a recent episode of Glee, “Bad Reputation”, in which Artie and a few other Glee kids performed ‘Can’t Touch This’ in the school library, my Mum commented on how he used his whole body to move, even in his chair. Amen! As a performer who uses a wheelchair I can only ask the Glee writers to get McHale dancing more in his wheelchair in the show and stick two fingers up at the kids in my dance class two years ago who said “Why are you here? You can’t dance, you’re in a wheelchair!”

Ali x

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One Response to “It’s Safe To Dance, Right?”

  1. mirage1440 Says:

    I liked this sequence. I was wondering if he was truly disabled or not, but I guess this was the answer. I love the way he uses his chair in the episodes, and it really made me think that he had some previous experience. I agree that having him get out of the chair was needed to show what he was thinking, but I too could see why people might be upset.
    And I second Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. It is awesome and if you haven’t seen it you should go to Hulu right this very minute.

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