Suzanne Cowan Delves into Crip Culture at Disability Dancing Lab
Deepening into crip culture (the cultural crip identity celebrated by disabled people) was the joy of my time at the University of California Los Angeles Disability Dancing Lab (DDL). "Moving at the speed of access" became our motto as we navigated multiple access needs and approached them as choreographic tools.
Each of the 10 DDL attendees presented a workshop profiling their own artistic practice. Among the diverse perspectives of choreography we learned about were audio description, ASL sign language, and approaching pain and fatigue as a provocation and a daily reality for many disabled people.
We explored how language can shift the narrative around disability and create a disability aesthetic. We discussed ableist practices and how we can actively deconstruct them in our work. The workshop generated new understandings of pursuing artistic rigour and technique. As a consequence, I feel my disability aesthetic is enriched and I have a wonderful new community of colleagues.
Big thanks to our facilitator Victoria Marks and UCLA for fully funding this project and giving space to disability artistry.
I am super excited about bringing this new crip culture download to my new TC project, Tentacular which is a queer/crip collaboration with Val Smith, beginning in August. Together we will explore the interface and overlap of queer culture and crip culture. We are working with Touch Compass dancers Julie van Renen and Duncan Armstrong and we welcome Raven Afo-Purcell. Our sound score creatives are Adam Ben-Dror and long-term TC collaborator Kristian Larsen.
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