Adam Benjamin, lecturer at Plymouth University and author of the seminal text Making an Entrance, explains that access to higher education is key to supporting the next generation of disabled dance artists.
Extract from the seminal text ‘Making an Entrance’:
In 1991, Celeste Dandeker and I were faced with convincing the dance world that an integrated company like Candoco might have a place within the mainstream of British dance. It was an opinion regarded in some quarters as an overly ambitious dream, and by others as an impossibility, pure and simple. There were, however, visionary people along the way who not only believed in us, but supported and encouraged us. People like the indomitable Shannie Ross, whose fundraising gave rise to the ASPIRE rehabilitation centre in North London where we first trialled our ideas, Theresa Beattie, an endless source of guidance and advice, our administrators, the late Inga Jones, Dawn Prentice and the many dancers and dance students, disabled and non-disabled, who gave their time and creativity to the infant company.
It was in 2002 that Routledge published Making an Entrance, Theory and Practice for Disabled and Non-disabled Dancers. Making an Entrance marked a decade of professional integrated dance, its title acknowledged that the obstacles to progress were not only ethical or aesthetic but equally, architectural. While Candoco’s success had shaken us free of the restrictive notions of what dance might be, it was far less easy to dance our way through buildings that physically prohibited the involvement of disabled people; when we started our journey, this included just about every building used for dance training in the UK.
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