The ‘Changing Perspectives’ event at Sadler’s Well’s Lilian Baylis Theatre featured UK based dance individuals and companies (Corali, AMICI, Touchdown Dance, High Spin), for whom disability dance is key.

In this platform of works in progress we were given a pencil and paper on entering the auditorium to jot down our thoughts, feelings and reactions to use in the post-show discussion.

The festival provided an opportunity to look at how to develop constructive approaches that will lead companies to generate professionally competent and confident work.

A number of questions arose from these discussions:

  • What is accessible to audiences (disabled and non-disabled)?
  • What is accessible to the performers and choreographers (disabled and non disabled)?
  • Is the focus of disability/integrated dance on the process and practice as opposed to the final choreographic product?
  • How can a focus on process be linked to a mainstream concert tradition that focuses on the exact opposite – the end product?
  • Can disability dance find a balance between process and product?

Although there are many questions raised, perhaps we must wait for the answers with baited breath. We must take heed of the fact that disability dance is challenging art and the world by challenging who can dance and in doing so, we recognise the worth of the process of disability dance. However, what we must strive to do is register the quality as well as the value in order that equality remains paramount – equality of access, of entitlement and of judgement.

  • Winter 2004. Animated. Magazine of “People Dancing”.
  • March 2006. Residency at Lilian Baylis, with “Connect”, the Education department at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. the Program states, “Dance movement workshops for visually impaired adults. A fun and engaging workshop encouraging visually impaired people to express themselves in dance. Using contact improvisation participants work in pairs to liberate each individual’s creativity. Those usually excluded from dance feel their body moving with both sensitivity and dynamic expression in this inclusive and inspirational event.

A conference at Sadler’s Wells on dance stated that research showed that Visually Impaired people were the most excluded from Dance.

Information courtesy of People Dancing

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