Top of page
Misc

Dancers with disabilities learn to redefine the aesthetics of movement

Instructors with dancers in wheelchair performing dance at the public showcase.
Photo credit: Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

As the 10 dancers moved across the studio floor in Kaufman Hall, their instructor closely watched how each dancer’s body movements transitioned from one to the next.

Victoria Marks, associate dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and professor of choreography, offered encouragement and challenged the dancers to pay closer attention to the way they could shape space both individually and in pairs. Two dancers in wheelchairs faced each other, raising their arms in intricate patterns. Others incorporated crutches or a chair into their actions.

“You are a mover and a maker. You can make us see things,” Marks said to the group, her voice the only sound in the studio as the dancers worked without music. “You have that power, not just in what you’re doing but how you’re doing it.”

The dancers, hailing from around the world, came together for a week in June for UCLA’s Dancing Disability Lab, which was hosted by world arts and cultures/dance and the disability studies minor. They spent their time discussing disability activism and performance, developing their movement skills, creating choreography and exploring how dance can transform and challenge ideas about the body and personhood.

The UCLA Disability Inclusion Lab is a cross-disciplinary initiative designed to reframe cultural understanding and practices around the concept of disability through academic courses and community engagement. Each lab will build and strengthen networks of faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and community leaders to transform the discourse and awareness surrounding disability. The Dancing Disability Lab was UCLA’s second such project following the Autism Media Lab in the spring.

You might also like

New York Governor Kathy Hochul shows a signed package bill with a group New York Governor Kathy Hochul shows a signed package bill with a group

Gov. Hochul signs legislation package on anniversary of ADA

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a legislative package that further upholds and…

Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs

Feds sue Chicago Cubs alleging Wrigley Field renovations violate ADA

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of…

old woman talking on cellphone old woman talking on cellphone

HHS issues guidance on HIPAA compliance when providing audio-only telehealth

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through…

Female judge in a courtroom striking the gavel Female judge in a courtroom striking the gavel

Arkansas couple sentenced to federal prison for social security fraud

A Fort Smith husband and wife were sentenced today to…