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Steve Sucato
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Cleveland's Dancing Wheels performs as part of Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative at Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Oct. 7

by Steve Sucato
October 2, 2017
Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
Commemorating 37 years of physically integrated dance, Cleveland’s Dancing Wheels Company presents "Past, Present and Future of Integrated Dance" at Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Saturday, October 7.

Part of Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative, the nation's oldest physically-integrated dance company will perform an evening of repertory works including world-premiere works from David Dorfman and James Morrow. Also on the program are works by choreographers Daniel Jobe, Heidi Latsky, Dianne McIntyre, Catherine Meredith and Sarah Swenson.

Program information:

What: Dancing Wheels Company
When: Saturday, October 7 at 8pm
Where: Ailey Citigroup Theatre
405 W 55th Street, New York, NY 10019
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door*
Senior/student rate $15
Groups of 10 or more are $15 per ticket
*Accessible seating, sign language interpretation and audio description are available upon request.

More information at www.dancingwheels.org
or call 216-432-0306.

About Dancing Wheels

IF DANCE IS AN EXPRESSION OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, then it is best expressed by people of all abilities. That is the fundamental belief behind the Dancing Wheels Company & School. Considered one of the premier arts and disabilities organizations in the U.S., Dancing Wheels is a professional, physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher, the first professional wheelchair dancer in the U.S., founded the Dancing Wheels Company in Cleveland in 1980. Born with spina bifida, Mary wanted to offer others with disabilities full and equal access into the world of dance. An almost unimaginable concept at the time, Mary’s vision and passion have since helped to revolutionize our very notion of dance – as well as what defines a dancer.

Furthering the mission of inclusive arts and recreation opportunities for all, the School of Dancing Wheels proudly opened its doors in 1990. Its state-of-the-art studios were soon regarded as a world-class training center for dancers, choreographers and educators. That same year, a partnership with the Cleveland Ballet created the ground-breaking Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels which went on to delight audiences for nearly a decade.

To date, the Dancing Wheels Company’s inspirational mission has touched over 5 million people through performances, school assemblies, residencies and workshops. Millions more have enjoyed their artistry via appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, and the TV special “Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope.”

Now part of Professional Flair, Inc., a 501(c) arts and disabilities organization, Dancing Wheels continues to travel the globe advocating disability awareness and entertaining 30,000-50,000 people each year. With a repertory of over 40 works from nationally-esteemed choreographers and a message of inclusion and accessibility, the Company continually expands the reach of artistic possibilities while celebrating the universal spirit of dance.

About Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative

Dance/NYC Announces Conversations with Dancing Wheels Company & School and Full Radius Dance

Please join Dance/NYC for a series of conversations about integrated and disability dance artistry, dance made and performed by and with disabled dancers. Organized around New York City metropolitan area performance activity at the nexus of disability and dance, the series features leading artists working at that nexus in conversation with their presenters. The goals of the series are to drive awareness and interest in dance made by and with disabled artists, capture and share lessons learned by featured artists, and generate dialogue and partnerships among attendees. Featured artists are grantees of Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund, created to advance dance making by and with disabled artists.

The next events in the series are a conversation with Dancing Wheels Company & School at The Ailey Studios at The Joan Weill Center for Dance on Sunday, October 8, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., and a conversation with Full Radius Dance at Harlem School of the Arts at The Herb Alpert Center on Saturday, October 14, 8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., directly following that evening’s performance.

Register for the Conversation with Dancing Wheels Company & School at Dance.NYC.

Register for the Conversation with Full Radius Dance at Dance.NYC.

Dance/NYC launched its series on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 with a conversation and master class with Heidi Latsky Dance at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. For photos and event details, please visit Dance.NYC.

Future conversations in the series, which will continue through March 2018, will feature AXIS Dance Company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, and Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light. For additional details on the full Disability. Dance. Artistry. Conversation Series, visit Dance.NYC.

Please also visit Dance.NYC for details on upcoming conversations and Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund-supported performances, and to register for the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Network, a community dedicated to promoting integrated and disability dance artistry and advancing inclusion and access to the art form for disabled people.

The purpose of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund, made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation, is to generate dance making and performance by and with disabled artists. This activity is intended to advance artistic innovation and excellence—and, by extension, further disability rights. It extends Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative, launched in 2015, which includes substantive research, convening, and online resources. Learn more about the initiative at Dance.NYC.

Disability. Dance. Artistry. Conversation Series

Conversation with Dancing Wheels Company & School, October 8, 2017, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
The Ailey Studios at The Joan Weill Center for Dance
Featured Speakers: Catherine Meredith, Rehearsal Director, Dancing Wheels Company & School; and Mary Verdi-Fletcher, President/Founding Artistic Director, Dancing Wheels Company & School.

Conversation with Full Radius Dance, October 14, 2017, 8:30 – 10:00 pm
Harlem School of the Arts at The Herb Alpert Center
Featured Speakers: Alfred Preisser, Artistic Director and Director of Theater, Harlem School of the Arts; Douglas Scott, Artistic Director, Full Radius Dance; and Lindy Dannelley, Company Member, Full Radius Dance.

Conversation with AXIS Dance Company, November 17, 2017, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Gibney Dance: 280 Broadway
Featured Speakers: Gina Gibney, Artistic Director & CEO, Gibney Dance; Kara Gilmour, Senior Director of Community Action & Artist Services, Gibney Dance; and Marc Brew, Artistic Director & Choreographer, AXIS Dance Company.

Conversation with Jess Curtis/Gravity, January 2018
Featured Speakers: Ben Pryor, Founder and Curator, American Realness; Claire Cunningham, Performer; and Jess Curtis, Artistic Director, Jess Curtis/Gravity.

Conversation with Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, March 2018
Featured Speakers: Alice Sheppard, Choreographer, Kinetic Light; and Laurel Lawson, Performer.

Upcoming Dance/NYC Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund Grantees’ NYC Performances

Dancing Wheels Company & School’s Physically Integrated Dance: Past Present and Future
Dancing Wheels’s restaging of a work by Agnes DeMille, performance of current works in its repertory that were choreographed by New York City–based choreographers, and commissioning and premiering of a work by choreographer David Dorfman.

October 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m., The Ailey Citigroup Theatre. For details visit: www.dancingwheels.org

Full Radius Dance’s Do You Know What You Are Doing Now?
Full Radius Dance’s presentation of a physically integrated dance performance with choreographic work by Douglas Scott and Alice Sheppard including “Do You Know What You Are Doing Now?” “Do You Know…” speaks to how insecurity causes uncertainty and anxiety about oneself, others, the situation, and the process of creation. As noted American actress Meryl Streep said, “I have various degrees of confidence and self-loathing…You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent…Or that you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing.”

October 13-14, 2017, 7:00 p.m., Harlem School of the Arts: The Herb Alpert Center, 645 Saint Nicholas Avenue. For details visit: www.fullradiusdance.org

AXIS Dance Company’s Radical Impact
Directed by Marc Brew, Radical Impact will be created in collaboration with Composer/Pianist JooWan Kim, Artistic Director of Hip-Hop Orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj. Brew and Kim will be teaming up for the first time, exploring what it means to be human through music and movement. They will investigate themes around politics and identity, while drawing on each dancer’s unique experience of how they exist in the world and how their stories can be told through the medium of dance. This performance is part of Gibney Dance’s POP series, a program supporting curated rental opportunities for the dance community.

November 16-18, 2017, 8:00 p.m., Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway. For details visit: www.axisdance.org

Jess Curtis & Claire Cunningham’s The Way You Look (at Me) Tonight
How do we look at each other? How do we allow ourselves to be seen? How do our bodies shape the ways we perceive the world around us? Can we change how we see others? The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight is a social sculpture-a sensory journey, for two performers and audience. Developed in collaboration with noted author and philosopher of perception Dr. Alva Noë, leading UK disabled artist Claire Cunningham and international choreographer and performer Jess Curtis dance, sing, tell stories and ask questions combining performance, original music, and video to wrestle (sometimes literally) with important questions about our habits and practices of perceiving each other and the world. The New York City run will also feature a workshop and symposium about disability, performance, and the philosophy of perception with Movement Research.

January 10-13, 2018, Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway. Please note: exact performance dates and times are to be announced. For details visit: www.jesscurtisgravity.org

Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light’s Descent from Beauty
Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light’s performance of Descent from Beauty, an evening-length dance work that tells the story of Venus and Andromeda, choreographed by disabled dancer Alice Sheppard in collaboration with disabled dancer Lauren Lawson and disabled lighting and video artist Michael Maag.

March 19-25, 2018, La MaMa, 66 East 4th Street. Please note: exact performance dates and times are to be announced. For details visit: www.kineticlight.org

About Dance/NYC

Dance/NYC’s mission is to promote and encourage the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds core values of equity and inclusion into all aspects of its programs and operations. It works in alliance with Dance/USA, the national organization for professional dance. Dance.NYC


Leadership support for this series has been provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dance/NYC convenings are made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; by the New York State Council on the Arts, with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and by the National Endowment for the Arts. For their founding and leadership support of Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative, Dance/NYC thanks the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, and Engaging Dance Audiences administered by Dance/USA and made possible with the generous funding of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. For their partnership and guidance, Dance/NYC thanks the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Victor Calise, Commissioner, Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, Art Beyond Sight, The Disability/Arts/NYC Task Force, and the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Task Force.

Photo © & courtesy of Dale Dong

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