A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Teacher Training, led by Anne-Gaelle from Candoco, and facilitated by YDance as part of their ‘Growing Days’.
It was a brilliant day; so lovely to be led in a class situation, as well as providing the opportunity to question ourselves what we believe Inclusive practice to be and how we can do our best to facilitate this.
I always wander:
– What defines inclusive arts?
– Can all Arts not be inclusive?
– Must we differentiate or can all arts access all?
I strive to make all of my work inclusive, as so many participants have varying learning styles. I should try to access and approach all in what I am doing, and to never illuminate anyone from my practice.
Of course, teaching technique may have to be done differently, however when teaching technique weekly to Epic Encounters, a professional inclusive dance company, I taught the exercises how I would normally, and they adapted (sometimes with guidance, sometimes without) for their own bodies. They knew their bodies better than I did and it made sense for them to adapt appropriately. Of course, their extensive knowledge and experience of this ensured this could happen, and with less experience this would need more encouragement and direction.
During the training day we looked at the Models of Disability, discussing the 1980’s Medical Model which defines people by medical conditions relative to the norm, the Social Model, which places society as responsible for ensuring everyone can participate in day to day life, to listen to those with disabilities and make the world accessible to them, and the Cultural Model of Disability, which is currently being developed. This strives for cultural diversity instead of ‘The Norm’.
Anne-Gaelle then led us through different accessible exercises. What I loved about these was they were completely appropriate for us also, and seemed appropriate for all with room for adaptation. The day’s participants were made up of non disabled and disabled professional dance workers. It was also a great opportunity to meet others in the field and to have a day dancing with them all. It felt so luxurious to be led through such a beautiful day of dancing, including technique, improvisation and contact improvisation.
Next term I will be leading a weekly Inclusive Class for adults with learning disabilities for Horsecross Arts and I cannot wait to explore and use some of what I learnt there.