Last January Joan took part in the Pathways to the Profession Symposium organised by Scottish Dance Theatre, in partnership with Dundee Rep, Creative Scotland and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Over 200 delegates and speakers from across the world came to Dundee to take part in this two day event, which was aimed to bring about a cultural shift in thinking about disabled people in the performing arts and to move from a place of awareness to a place of action and increase the number of disabled people involved in the arts.
Together with SDT's artistic director Janet Smith and SDT's dance agent for change Caroline Bowditch, Joan presented the results of a casting exploration around his work Love Games. The aim of the inquiry was to explore the possibility of having a disabled dancer as a full time member of a mainstream repertory company like SDT, and the implications that this would have, for instance, in covering existing roles.
Caroline, herself a wheelchair user, learned the part that Naomi Murray originally danced in a duet from Love Games. Together with the dancers, Joan re-worked the duo in just two sessions and then shared it with the rest of the company. Working with the intentions behind the movement (wether emotional or physical) rather than with form, seemed to be the key to translate the movement and the dramaturgy of the dance to a new body.
The new version was presented in a SDT Interactive performance at the Tramway theatre in Glasgow, and then recorded to document the work.If you you are curious to see how the two versions look like next to each other, have a look at this video edited by Vicky Wilson:
The positive results of this little experiment open the doors for future inquires, and present new and exciting questions to be explored. To find out more about the Pathways to the Profession Symposium click HERE.