Dance Ability: Movement for People with and without Disabilities

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This introductory workshop is for people of all abilities. We will present foundational exercises introducing basic concepts of movement improvisation to people of all abilities based on things that all participants can do, including:
introduction to the unique language of each person’s body; how to communicate non-verbally with a partner; how to communicate non-verbally in larger groups; and the integration of contact improvisation dance--learning to improvise using physical contact. This work has been presented worldwide for the past twenty years.

We believe mixed abilities dance encourages people to reexamine their preexisting beliefs, misconceptions and attitudes about people with disabilities. We believe that DanceAbility has the power to create integrated communities throughout the world. We believe that when our work is open to everybody in the community and all the resources that the community has to offer, that it is possible to manifest a creative process based on equality. We believe that integrated dance eliminates isolation and empowers self-expression and personal growth for all people. We believe that creating and supporting inclusive dance groups in communities throughout the world awakens the spirit of equality and diversity in each community.


Keywords: Diability, Dance
Stream: Performing Arts Practices: Theatre, Dance, Music
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Nancy Meltzoff

Associate Professor of Education, College of Education, Pacific University
Eugene, Oregon, USA

Nancy Meltzoff, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Education at Pacific University in Eugene, Oregon, USA, where she has taught for fifteen years. She is also a member of Education and Training Consultants, a group that provides training in diversity to organizations, as well as a board member of DanceAbility International. She teaches courses in multicultural education to emerging and practicing teachers. Much of her work centers around issues of the development of community in the classroom. Her research interests also include the expressive arts, in particular dance and the visual arts. She is currently involved in developing cultural immersion programs for teachers.

Alito Alessi

Artistic Director, Joint Forces Dance Company
Eugene, Oregon, USA

Alito Alessi is the Artistic Director of DanceAbility International and co-founder of DanceAbility. Alessi has been involved with the evolution of contemporary dance for the past 30 years, and is internationally known as a pioneering teacher and choreographer in the fields of contact improvisation, and dance and disability. Alessi was selected as a Fulbright Senior Specialist (2007), received the Hong Kong Choreographer of the Year Award (2006), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2005), Choreographer’s Fellowships from the American National Endowment for the Arts (1992-1993 & 1995-1996) and from the Oregon Arts Commission (1991), as well as numerous other OAC grants. Under Alessi’s leadership, DanceAbility International was awarded a Fentress Endowment Award (2005) and a National Endowment for the Arts Exemplary Grant (1991) for DanceAbility. DanceAbility International has been in residence at the University of Oregon Dance Department since 1992. Alessi began training teachers in DanceAbility in 1997. He has conducted these month–long DanceAbility Teacher Certification Workshops in Eugene (Oregon), Buenos Aires, Milan, Amsterdam, Trier (Germany) and Vienna (at the Vienna International Dance Festival, also known as Impulstanz). More than 300 dance artists, people with disabilities, and those interested in working with people with disabilities have attended, coming from 18 different countries to attend the DanceAbility Teacher Certification workshops in the above locations.

Ref: A09P0172