Photo credit: Erik Zennström A photo of a group of 14 dancers crowded together onstage during a dance performance. The stage is dark and they are lit by pink, blue, and purple stage lights. There are standing dancers, dancers in their manual and power wheelchairs, and dancers on the floor and everyone is wearing casual clothing. As a group they use their bodies and arms to create a movement together, many of them with their arms straight up in the air or held at their sides and most of them looking up to the ceiling. It’s a dramatic moment full of energy that is being momentarily held by the group.
All Bodies Dance Project (ABDP) is an inclusive dance company located on unceded Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil- Waututh), and xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories (Vancouver, BC, Canada). Our mission is to create opportunities for people of all abilities, genders, sizes, and backgrounds to practice, research, and create innovative, inclusive dance.
In ABDP’s work, differences are regarded as creative strengths as we explore the choreographic possibilities of diverse ways of moving and perceiving. Our work blurs the boundaries between community-engaged and professional practice. We value the lived experience of movers both with and without disabilities and approach accessibility tools and practices from Disability Justice as sources of generative artistic possibility. Our practice aims to dismantle assumptions, biases, and default notions around contemporary dance, the theatre, and the dancing body.
We want to expand the possibilities of who dances and what dance can be.
VIDEO A black screen with the All Bodies Dance Logo and the following text: “All Bodies Dance Project is a free inclusive dance project celebrating diversity and community.” The scene opens looking towards a modern community centre (Trout Lake) surrounded in greenery. A variety of percussion instruments - bells, metallic canisters, a bodhrán. A dance class is in progress, with a variety of people, some wheelchair and scooter users, some standing; all are reaching upwards. The dancers move through a series of playful exercises, and there’s a lot of joy in the space. Black screen with the text “One of the best things I have done for myself” - participant Outside of the Roundhouse Community Centre, brick and glass modern space, with city buildings reflected in the tall windows. In the dance studio, about a dozen dancers of varying embodiments move through the space - swirling, swooping, crawling, rolling. Inside the theatre in the Roundhouse: 13 dancers face the audience and begin moving together - in lines, small groups, individuals; and we get some shots with a camera attached to one of the motorised wheelchairs, offering a unique perspective. Outside in a courtyard of another community gathering place, several dancers move through the space while passersby look on. Black screen with the text “I would do it again in a heartbeat” - participant. Back in the Trout Lake studio, dancers move in and out, pass each other closely, forming interesting shapes. Black screen with the text “Join us!” ABDP logo and email: firstname.lastname@example.org Screen with collaborators and funders: Trout Lake Community Centre, City of Vancouver, Roundhouse Community Centre, Radical Access Mapping Project, Canada Council for the Arts, Sunset Community Centre, Wheelin’ Mobility, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and Made In BC: Dance On Tour.
“Enjoyed the inclusiveness, diversity, kindness and friendliness of instructors and participants. The freedom to interpret dance and not be restricted by preconceived notions of movement.”
Trout Lake participant
A radical and incredible space for people of all abilities to explore their relationship to movement, stillness, dance and music. Personally, having a really open invitation for people to opt in, opt out, attend or miss, is exceptional and inclusive for my needs as a disabled person. It's not a hyperbole to say it was a liberating experience. Sincerely, I love the teaching/facilitation, the students and the expansiveness of a movement ideation not tied to dance genre and the process of co-creation.
Trout Lake participant
"I gained confidence and a lot more happiness. I enjoyed exploring new dances and ways to do dance."
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