At REHACARE 2019, Erik Machens transformed the exhibition hall into a dance floor and impressed many visitors with his performance. How he felt about the atmosphere at the trade fair and why wheelchair dancing is a particularly inclusive sport for him, he tells us at REHACARE.com.
Name: Erik Machens Age: 35 City: Osnabrück, Germany Occupation: Communication designer, customer consultant and dance athlete Impairment: Spina bifida
Erik Machens: Expectations that are completely reversed.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Erik Machens: A headstand... That was a movement limit SO FAR, probably out of habit. But that also includes climbing a steep face with a wheelchair, a parachute jump and other daring plans. Some are in the works.
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Erik Machens: An interesting question that I cannot answer unequivocally. I let many people impress me, perhaps inspire me, sometimes influence me – I don't think you can be choosy enough.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?
Erik Machens: I'm not sure I want to do this job. But I think I would want to make a wheelchair sport subject compulsory at any regular school and encourage a lot of dialogue between people with disabilities and those who are firmly convinced that they don't have one through regular public discussions and participatory events.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Erik Machens: Disabled sports and especially wheelchair dancing as an enormously inclusive sport. Here the boundaries between disabled sport and sport are blown.
I would like to be...
Erik Machens: someone who tells or writes inspiring stories. But basically I'm very happy.
Which question would you like answered the most?
Erik Machens: Can discrimination – in general and without a focus on disability – actually be excluded in the long term?
What else I wanted to say...
Erik Machens: Many thanks to the organizers of REHACARE 2019, the team at the booth of DGUV and DRS and the visitors of the fair, which I got to know. I think I have become a big fan of the open, friendly and constructive-inspiring spirit of REHACARE! ...if I am allowed, I would like to draw your attention to the IPC World Championships in Wheelchair Dance in Bonn, Germany (29.11. - 01.12.2019). This will also be a big spirit!