A Dancer's Perspective - Danielle's Take on Day 4 of the Alice Sheppard Intensive


The best creative processes inevitably leave me in knots.
It is day four of this creative intensive with Alice Sheppard, and we are upstage in one large human knot. My wheelchair is bound by the weight of four bodies for just a moment, before I shake them off with a sharp spin. They scatter, and I
move away: my arms trying hard to embody the deep beauty and meaning of the choreography Alice has created for me. I find myself pulled into another kind of knot. 
Alice has done her homework. She has watched CRIPSiE’s archive. She has seen video after video of me carving space with my hands firmly and safely on my wheels. I have consented to being pushed beyond my former capacities and comfort zones, and she is more than living up to her end of the bargain. My arms strain to fill the space around me - at times angular, anguished, angry, articulate, assertive, cared for and caring. The movements pull at old knots inside of me. As I spin, spin, spin, something shifts. At times I feel undone, then am pulled into new tangled shapes - new beautiful challenges. 
I watch the four bodies around me spin, hang, and close in on me again. I watch them struggle, and push, and find new ways of moving and being moved. I know this is shifting knots in each of us. 
The afternoon gives way to the evening session and six more CRIPSiE artists join us. We are each invited to reach - safely- beyond our own centres of balance, and she pulls the most beautiful choreography out of the moments where each body falters. Moving and shifting and stumbling and dancing in this way, with these people, feels like the essence of crip community. We are entangled: our struggles and passions twisting and turning each other in unimagined ways; our interdependence weaving our lives and movements together.

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