That is me, in the wheelcha-cha

(To see the video with English subtitles, click the Youtube icon)

This is a very moving and inspiring project. I have seen the video about 10 times, and I find that what I am seeing is something that we need more and more in our time: empathy, creativity, acceptance, trust, and meaning. This is of course a bunch of plus words that can seem a little easy to just put into text, but what can I do? This project is something really authentic, inclusive and respectful of what it means to be a human being.

The project Dancing from who we are started in 2013 as a spinoff from the dance association Kon moción, with the aim of expanding the association’s scope to people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

Dancing from who we are is trying to break down barriers, bring dance to everyone, and discover the dances that are sometimes hidden behind our limitations in order to find languages that bring people together.

In the documentary we hear and see the director of the programme, Becky Siegel and her helpers. As for the participants, we hear the individual perspectives from two of them, a man who suffers from Parkinson, and a woman in a wheelchair. The documentary clearly makes you feel that these people are simply just people, like you and me. That it’s me in the wheelchair, having to face some altered conditions when it comes to the whereabouts of my arms, my legs, my head, my body in time and space.

What leaves me with curiosity after seeing the documentary, is to know more about what impact the project has on the collective. We see that the individual participants seem to have a transformatory experience. But what happens in the group? What happens to the people with whom each participant interact before and after the creative bodily experience this project provides?

In the exercises we are witnessing, there seems to be a huge creativity going on. There is a wealth of ideas being generated and shared. These are cultural patterns, created on the spot, building on the experience, philosophy and energy that each participant brings to the collective. But what happens to these patterns? Are these people building a collective culture together? Are the patterns being stored in the collective and are they building on top of each other, accumulating immaterial wealth to the group? Or are the simply just there in the moment, and then gone?

And lastly: what is the balance of initiative between facilitators and participants? How much influence does the participants have on the format of the activities? Being non-dancers, and being thrown into their specific conditions, do they see themselves as legitimate co-creators, and are they being invited to pitch in?

Dear reader, what do you think? Please comment, share and pitch in with ideas below

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