01 Mar No Assumptions, Please!
The time for inclusion is now!
Hi all, I’m going to tell you about my experience in a mixed-ability dance workshop I attended on 19 February. The workshop, which was one of 2 inclusive dance workshops hosted by Opening Doors that day, was organised in collaboration with the University of Malta’s Dance Studies Department.
My workshop was attended by some OD members from the dance and theatre programmes, along with a few dancers from the university. I was happy to have this opportunity to take part, as I got to know the other participants as well as the dance level 1 group leader Sara, who led the session.
As soon as we entered the small black space of Studio A in Spazju Kreattiv we were introduced to each other before being called into a group. Once we got all together, we immediately started the session by using different body parts like an elbow, or our heads or even our legs to spell out our names to each other. I did a halo around my head with my finger as the meaning of my name means angel 😊. It was very fast to get everyone instantly involved in what we were doing.
From there, we moved into the number game where we had these huge numbers which were made out of cardboard and were placed in the middle of the circle. The purpose of this was to give each of us the opportunity to take the lead, and the other participants had to copy the leader. After we held up the number and did a movement, everyone would copy of us. Then we stopped our movement and went back into running in a circle and someone else would take up our place. We did this with party music that we all knew to accompany us. I think that this was a great exercise because it was intense, and we all had to work hard.
I think what was great was how we interacted with each other. It felt like we had known each other for ages even though we hadn’t met before some of the people who were there. For one exercise we were divided into two groups we had to form a picture of an image or even a word based on an actual picture and flash cards that we were given by the tutor and we had to turn it into a dance with some slow music to get out that flowy feeling. In my group we did the moon where the three of us were lying on the floor in a circle, all connected to each other by holding hands or with our feet touching, like a moon shape.
What I really loved was seeing how well we got on with the university students. It showed me that there was no difference whatsoever between them and us and that we are all just equal participants, just having a good time. Another great part was that we had no problem in communicating with each other. It felt very natural especially as the university students were very open to us.
I feel that I have come a very long way from when I first started at Opening Doors in Autumn 2019. I think what has really helped me was because I took part in the two mixed-ability performances last autumn, Is Sigra Tat Tin and Automaniacs. That helped me to recognise my abilities and to fully accept myself and appreciate all the great friends who I have at Opening Doors. I’m glad to be part of the Opening Doors family. I hope that we will have more mixed-ability projects, workshops and performances because I believe that now is the time for inclusion. Let’s do this together!
Photos by Elisa von Brockdorff