Contemporary dance and disability

by Chrysanthi
(No location given)


I am delighted to say that your site has been very helpful so far, but I think I really need to ask for your help at this point.

I am a student at the Glasgow school of art and I am writing an extended essay on contemporary dance and disability. I am particularly interested in the works of Alain Platel and using them as resources, my analysis explores the ethical and communicational framework of such performances. I am also thinking of including a comparison between Platel’s dance company and other dance companies that are constituted from disabled dancers and the critical judgment of the audience.

So I would like to request for any resources that you are aware of, for example I am having some hard time locating dance companies which are made of disabled people and more information on the insertion and expression of disability at this exclusive community. I also feel hat I should be more analytical on my sources but I haven’t found good description of the performances ( dance is hard to describe with words to someone; maybe that is why it is danced after all). This writing could go on for ever. Any advice or source or idea would be highly appreciated. Forgive my bad sentence structure. I would be waiting news from you. Thank you in advance.


Comments for Contemporary dance and disability

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Dec 14, 2011
Answer from Maria for contemporary dance and disability
by: Maria

Dear Chrysanthi,

Here are some examples of companies that work with disabled people. Some of them have full time performers or work with them for specific projects:

- DV8, directed by Lloyd Newson. They have this famous piece you might know, entitled "The cost of living".

- Axis Dance Company

- Anjali Dance Company

- Candoco Foundation Group

- AMICI Dance Theater Company

In case you haven't seen it yet, you might want to watch this video:


Here you will find some testimonies of Professor Sarah Whatley from Coventry University ( and as from other people) and the involvement of the Siobhan Davis Dance Company.

If your interest focuses on the ethical and communicational framework of contemporary dance performances that integrate disabled people, I guess you don't need to worry too much about the exact description of the pieces.

You might better need a theoretical frame about those topics (ethics and communication in dance), to work over the examples of your choice (Alain Platel, as I understand). The work of other choreographers or companies can be of help for making comparisons and make your ideas arise.

I remember there's something about contemporary dance ethic values in the book "Poetics of contemporary dance" by Laurence Louppe. You should be able to find the book in English at Amazon, or at the website of the editors (Contredanse)

If I were you, I would choose only one perspective for the argumentation (whether the ethic or the communicational aspect). That might facilitate the construction of the theoretical frame and it is likely to guide you to a more specific and concrete result. But, this depends on the size and type of project you are working on. Continue searching and the path will tell you how to go on.

I hope this gives you a hand. Don't hesitate to come back with replies in this same thread or to participate at in any other way.

Warm regards,


Dec 19, 2011
dance and disability
by: chrysanthi

Dear Maria

Thank you so much for replaying right away to my request for help. The information you provided were inDeed very usefull to me and iam just invastigating them more and more.I also liked they way you suggested your advice.iam wtitting a 7000 word essay and there is plenty of room to analise things.I think i will contact you again as i move along

Dec 03, 2013
Help meeded me too...
by: Renata

Dear all.

My topic is also this to my thesis, I have a lot of interview from companies, dancers choreographers and so on...
But they miss the source material from books and so on. Can you help me where can I search?
Thanks a Lot

Dec 04, 2013
Maria's reply for Renata
by: Maria

Dear Renata,

You can find the following books at

- Making an Entrance: Theory and Practice for Disabled and Non-Disabled Dancers (by Adam Benjamin).

- No Handicap to Dance: Creative Improvisation with and Without Disabilities (Human Horizons): Creative Improvisation with and Without Disabilities (by Gina Levete).

I also found the following essay:

Strategic Abilities: Negotiating the Disabled Body in Dance

Give those a try. I believe they may have good information.

Best regards,


Oct 07, 2015
by: Dorothy Printup

Great awesome issues here. I am very happy to see your article. Thanks a lot and i'm looking ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail

Oct 07, 2015
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear Dorothy,

You didn't leave your e-mail address. If you want to contact me, use the form located at this page:

Contact me


Mar 08, 2017
Extended Essay
by: Kate

Hello, I am Kate who are planning to write an extended essay about contemporary and disability. However, i am quite struggling in deciding a research question. can anyone help me?

Mar 08, 2017
There's a chat in the forum about this
by: Maria

Dear Kate,

We have a chat in the forum that will be useful for you. Here's the link:

How to define a question for a dance research

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