DanceAbility connects all people with “disabilities” and people who are interested in working and co-creating with them in the field of contemporary dance. A large number of these contacts benefits everyone involved, since encourages mutual understanding and consequently provides for an improved coexistence. DanceAbility entails greater tolerance, understanding and, inclusion of people with disabilities who have been largely overlooked and neglected until now.
DanceAbility encourages the expansion of mixed individual dancing skills in a way that cultivates a “common area” of creative expression for all people. These workshops help reduce prejudice and false conceptions about diversity, which are deeply rooted not only within society, but also within the dance community and everyone that is actively engaged in the psycho-physical activity. This could be categorized as the shortfall of the dance community because by not giving attention to people with disabilities they unconsciously exclude an important group of people that could open new horizons in the field of movement patterns. By using its own aesthetics and particular types of movement it disintegrates deeply rooted sophisticated movement patterns which allows for research and the emergence of new ways of movement and communication.
DanceAbility is based on improvisation, which consists of four main elements: sensation, relation, time and design-form. Improvisation allows us to enter the unknown and rely on our intuition for guidance and decision makings. The dancers are learning to recognize it in themselves, and to follow their desires in movement. Each dancer is finding new ways of movement and communication. DanceAbility method is a study of movement, that does not isolate anyone because of their disabilities.
Improvisational process constantly gives us new options to connect in ways that are consistent with our intentions. Selections can be made intuitively or through the process of thinking. Improvisation includes becoming comfortable at being present and curious. It helps us become aware of our subconscious processes and the consequences of our decisions. When we improvise, we can play with the past, present and future. Improvisation is suitable for work with mixed groups, mainly because of its flexibility which prevents insulation.
DanceAbility is not therapy, the approach is identical to the one of as “normal” dancers, but we bring together all people and find a way to make it possible. It ensures equal collaboration and learning environment for everyone. This is not an environment that would divide people into those who participate in order to “be helped” and those who come there to “be helpers.”
Every individual should be considered special and unique. Disability should not be treated as something extraordinary, instead it should be accepted as a natural development, because every individual is unique and “temporarily able”. Diversity enriches the group and these unique individual differences establish richness.
DanceAbility began to develop 25 years ago in Oregon based on democracy of Contemporary Dance philosophy (democracy in dance, contemporary dance). They started with contact-improvisation technique which was considered to be common use for everyone, which it is, so they just used it in a new way.
DanceAbility Europe Network (a network of countries in Europe) and International DanceAbility, whose representative and founder is Alito Alessi, have now existed for many years. The purpose of these workshops is to educate all people about the competences of people with disabilities in dance and to demonstrate that there are no limits in dance.
You can find outr more about DanceAbility on their website http://www.danceability.com/