For the second year in a row, my trip to Miami coincided with a Miami-based arts and disability conference that I was able to attend as well. This year, Forward Motion, a Physically Integrated Dance Festival and Conference, organized by Karen Paterson & Dancers, was my special treat. Although I wasn’t able to stay for the entire festival, I was able to see several of the Candoco dancers and Karen Peterson dancers perform an intriguing score incorporating voice, echo, translation, and space. It is based on a structure practiced by the British company, Dog Kennel Hill. It was adapted by the dancers working together at Forward Motion for this conference. In addition to Candoco (London) and KPD (Miami), AXIS Dance Company (Oakland) and REVolutions Dance (Tampa) were also performing at the Festival.
The conference consisted of several thought-provoking panel discussions concerning topics of representation in the arts and media, moving beyond inclusion, and intersecting disability, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, and gender. Whoa: three very diverse and incredibly important panels discussing some meaty topics!
Some quotes that have stayed with me include:
“Diverse doesn’t mean inclusive.” So true. Many people still struggle with the concept of inclusion; what it means in context of disability.
“I am not educating people… But maybe I am because I am being seen. I know I have the power to be seen.” I have always believed that if you live your life, and let other people experience you living your life, education can happen.
“Inclusion means, I’m included but you’re not. Inclusivity means our stories are included, therefore our bodies are included too.” This one made me think.
And finally, this one is attributed to Annie Segarra, (artist, activist, YouTuber): “Inclusion is being invited to a party that is not equipped to have me there. Access is being invited to a party where I can make my own decision. Maybe I don’t want to dance, but I have the choice.”
|All the panelists were very engaged and could have talked longer given the opportunity.|
I ended my time in Miami wandering the Wynwood Walls, a neighborhood of warehouses that have been transformed by muralists. I discovered a poet, Jess, (@poemshop-js) who writes poetry on his manual typewriter outside one of the coffee shops. When asked to write a poem about One Night in Miami, he obliged:
The summer air blazes into
to let the sun hide.
The cotton candy clouds of
now drift in simple notes
of stray slate
and dove gray.
We can breathe,
finally. There is
opening and room,
where the sauna and
red glow made us melt
inward at noon,
now we can stroll
calm in the open
beneath the waning moon.
The music of evening
calls the convocation,
cars with made-up faces pass,
swirling the dust of the street.
Another night before
the weekend, in this city
where the ocean
and Everglades meet.
|Jess Allen and his typewriter sit at the edge of the sidewalk, observed by two passers-by.|