Each year Luna hosts a Dance & Disability Panel, inviting artists, educators, activists and researchers to discuss how we can make our field more inclusive. This year we were honored to host the following panelists:
Suzanna Curtis, autism specialist & researcher
Jennifer Dennehy, dance teaching artist from Erie, PA
Eric Kupers, Dandelion/Bandelion artistic director & Inclusive Interdisciplinary Performance artist educator at CSU East Bay
Dwayne Scheuneman, AXIS Dance Company member & inclusive dance teacher
Julie Slater, special education teacher, Grass Valley Elementary, Oakland
Judith Smith, founder, AXIS Dance Company & inclusion advocate
Notes from Dance & Disability Panel, 10/13/18
Q: What is most compelling question today about inclusion, accessibility, or integration?
*How to measure impact?
Every single student has unique needs
Managing the “more is better” in public education – meaning more numbers. Educating funders—need growth-inducing catch-up from money. Help funders with defining measurement. DEI requires inclusion of ability/disability.
*Moving from dance versus inclusive dance.
Instead of social justice, see it as increasing artistry. The possibility for inclusive dance to be a rich training ground. Related to public perception of who is a dancer and question about What is technique? Acceptable virtuosity?
Opportunities in the margins. Freedom to explore, make things up.
Entry points at all levels for people with disability: K-5, studio, higher education. How to make it work?
Equity & inclusion in dance – using what we learned in dance to inform the larger community. Opportunity to find new way through dance. Visibility and representation.
Differing ideas of disability and who gets included. Knowing what you mean.
*How to help other dance educators to value inclusivity
Do we need standards? Translating vs. adapting. Including students as they are.
How to help kids fit in without neglecting/while still honoring their differences.
Q: What does it (inclusion, change) look like?
Commit to conversations in the long-term. Keep questioning what we mean.
A range of styles and work for different reasons — re-equality
From where we’re at, do what we can
Expectations for students kept high
Need more lab/R&D time to figure things out
Aikido metaphor, partnering at different levels allows everyone to learn
Freedom to Move book by Kim Dunphy & Jenny Scott
Play & Imagination for Children with Autism book by Pamela Wolfberg
Making an Entrance by Adam Benjamin
Nick Walker, sensei
axisdance.org (AXIS Dance Company website with infor on training, jams, advocacy, report on integrated dance)
Dance & Inclusion lab at CSUEB – Here is information from Eric Kupers
From Eric: Here’s my current schedule. I recommend getting in touch before hand to make sure we don’t have a field trip or performance elsewhere that day. Most of the classes are in the CSUEB Dance Studio, room PE 140. I’m including a map of campus as well. email@example.com
INCLUSIVE DANCE CLASSES AT CSUEB – FALL 2018
Dance Partnering I
Mon/Wed 3:30 – 4:20pm
For this week and the following two weeks we’re having master classes with American Dance Wheels to learn Adaptive Ballroom dance. We’re joined by Skype by Aubree Marchione and in person by Derrick Williams on Mondays, and then on Wednesdays I’m reviewing with everyone what we learned Monday. This semester we’re learning Merengue, and next semester we’ll have four classes with American Dance Wheels to learn The Hustle.
Dance Partnering II
Mon/Wed 5 – 5:50pm
This class has more of a focus on Inclusive Contact Improvisation.
Inclusive Interdisciplinary Ensemble
Tues/Thurs 1:15 – 2:30pm
On Tuesdays we tend to focus on Taiko drumming. On Thursdays we do dance/theater explorations and a lot of improvisation. Come check out either or both!
Creativity Lab (Located in a different room and building, TH 288)
Thursdays, 3:30 – 5pm
This is a laboratory for diverse creative disciplines, designed primarily for autistic students, but open to anyone. We spend a half hour at the beginning doing some kind of creative inquiry together, and then everyone works on their own projects for the remaining hour.