(FOX 2) - Para Dance is a popular competitive genre around the world but U.S. ballroom dancers really haven't been in the spotlight until now. Thanks to a Bloomfield Hills dance studio, a dancing duo from metro Detroit is taking their skills to the world stage.
Aubrey Meade and Andrew Downs are the first couple from the U.S. to compete at the World Para Dance Sports Championships. The big event is in Bonn, Germany Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2019.
"This is kind of a culmination of a journey we've taken together for three and a half years," Aubrey says.
For Andrew the journey started in 2016 when he attended a dance mobility class at Fred Astaire Dance Studios.
"I saw them dance and I just really wanted to do it," he says.
Born with spina bifida, Andrew participated in numerous para sports before he started dancing.
"I didn't know what I was expecting because even I questioned how is this going to work. I was interested in how this was going to work and then I saw it and I was like, 'Oh, okay. I want to do that.'"
So he attended the monthly dance mobility class, started taking private lessons and even danced at charity events.
"People get to see what I'm capable of and how serious this sport is and what this sport is about," he says.
Andrew and Aubrey want people to know this sport is very current in the world right now, and to take its physical demands seriously.
"It's a blood sport, people. Please don't take it as a joke. This hurts but it's a labor of love and it's a labor," Andrew says.
The pair will compete in three different divisions: standard, Latin and freestyle. They leave on Tuesday for Germany and will spend the Thanksgiving holiday dancing in the competition.
"If we win that will just, I don't have words for that if that comes to pass," Andrew says.