Disability Dance & Ensemble Thinking Workshop

Over the last year, we have been adapting “scores,” or prompts, for improvisation developed in Ensemble Thinking to disability dance settings. Ensemble Thinking (ET) is a practice of shaping group improvisation initiated by Dr. Nina Martin and other dancers in the 1990s.

This project is not only about bringing Ensemble Thinking into disability dance communities. Working with disabled dancers, we hope to create a set of tools to transform improvisational dance settings, making them fundamentally inclusive of more bodyminds. Ensemble Thinking is used to develop performances, but it can also facilitate “group attunement” in a variety of non-dance settings, and with non-professional dancers. We hope that, in addition to experiencing the magic of improvising dance together, participants will be able to take these skills forward into all collaborative settings.

We would like to host a three-hour workshop for disabled dancers in Chicago to improvise dance together using new methods of improvisation we are developing. This workshop would allow us to further our development of improvisation and facilitation techniques by working with an expanded group of dancers, and would also build community among disabled dancers in Chicago. We are applying to your fund to help us make this workshop accessible to a cross-impairment group of dancers, including those who dance in wheelchairs, as well as people who are blind, Deaf, autistic, and chronically ill. We, the organizers of this event, are also a part of this community.

In this workshop, we will explore a new score with a group of dancers encountering Ensemble Thinking for the first time. In this community laboratory, we understand bodily difference as a generative creative resource and we practice learning from each other.

Funded by Chicago, IL (June 2024)