This month, Atlanta was host to the 27th Annual Dragon Con, an event I have attended every year. This time round I was asked to participate in a documentary about cosplay** and disabilities, with a focus on DC characters. As I was posing for some shots as “Bat Girl aka “Oracle”, a few on lookers asked “is the chair PART of your costume?” Since the character is written as a wheel chair user, I understood their query. However, when I was in other costumes, from Trekkie to steampunk, I was asked the SAME question. In reality this line of thought isn’t anything new.
It surprises folks that the TOP query we get at Full Radius is, “do they REALLY need those wheel chairs?” It is even put to us in the form of “why did you CHOOSE wheel chairs as part of the vision of this choreography?”, as if they were props. During our last school tour, when Douglas thought to begin the proceedings with the answer “Yes, these dancers REALLY need their chairs”, it still cropped up in one form or another. I think children respond to their natural keen sense of observation, picking up quickly who can leave their chair to sit on the floor, do a hand stand, move a foot. Perhaps they are thinking “if they can do THOSE things, then the chair surely isn’t a “necessity”.
However kids aren’t the only ones who question something that opens their minds to the possibility that what they perceive and what is actually possible might not be the same thing. Ten years ago when I was just an audience member, I greatly respected Mr. Scotts version of “able blindness”. He saw each body as “perfect, with the potential for undiscovered movement and you could tell it fed his work. That ALL bodies not only COULD experience dance, but under his direction that WOULD. Part of the artistic vision of FRD is that we are all dancers first. Some of us may not have the stereotype body shape or physicality that prevails in the forum, but this is what makes our work wonderfully different and challenging for both performers and audience.
We are in the mists of a campaign of giving focusing on the individual. YOUR contribution is needed to be part of the vision, part of the art that is Full Radius Dance. Please consider, in addition to your financial endowment, gift us with your support by spreading the word of WHY you are patron of Atlanta’s own physically integrated dance troupe.