Alice Sheppard on Disability Dance and Access

Nele Vanhaeverbeke Geen categorie Leave a Comment

Alice Sheppard (US) is a dancer who is able to engage with her former academic life by giving talks and teaching academic seminars on disability, race, and dance. 

“As a disabled dancer committed to the disability rights, arts, and culture movements, the connection between virtuosity, beauty, and physical ability makes little sense. My disability studies framework demonstrates that the primacy of physical ability is an explicit effect of the dance world’s implicit ableism. My dance work teaches me that every body can dance and that technique and training can make some of us stunning professional artists. Dance is not a function of the physicality of our bodies or minds. Dance happens in the tongue, the eyes, and the fingers; it can also happen in a perfect back layout, no-handed wheelie, a tricky caster balance or a fabulous lift.” (- Alice Sheppard)

“ If you are disabled, survival in the dance world is easier if you have an extraordinary body and neurotypical mind. Nonetheless, the capacity to make meaningful, artistic communication is not dependent on raw, extreme physicalities.” (- Alice Sheppard)

Alice had her performance debut with Infinity Dance Theater and continued training during an apprenticeship with AXIS Dance Company. Taking new risks, she left the USA and explored the different possibilities in the UK. As a freelance dancer, she worked with Ballet Cymru, GDance, and Marc Brew Company in the United Kingdom. In the US, she participated in projects with Marjani Forté, MBDance, Infinity Dance Theater, and Steve Paxton.

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