One definition of dance is to move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music (Dictionary.com). But dance is more than just moving your body to music. It is a form of art. Dance allows individuals to express their feelings and emotions through the movement of the body. It also expresses ideas and can tell a story. Dance has spiritual relevance in some cultures, including some African countries and the Native Americans.
|Wheelchair Dancing Credit: Neil Dent Photography|
Benefits of Dance
Just like any other physical activity, dance provides health benefits. Dancing incorporated into a regular routine can help maintain a good body weight, help you lose weight, and, depending on what type of dancing, is a good form of aerobic workout. Other health benefits can include, but are not limited to, strengthening muscles, strengthening the heart, increasing energy, improving posture, air flow in the lungs, and improves coordination, flexibility, and agility. Dancing also improves the body's overall functioning - the nervous system and blood flow.
Since many choose dance as an activity for pleasure and fun, it's a great way to meet new people and interact socially. When people are doing something they enjoy and are out with other individuals, it increases and enhances their self-esteem and confidence. Dancing has a positive impact on people's overall well being, both physically and emotionally. Examples of popular group dances are salsa, swing, hip-hop, ballroom, and line dancing.
What is Physically Integrated Dance?
Physically integrated dance combines dancers of different abilities. "Physically integrated dance is performed by people with and without disabilities, together on the same stage or as part of the same piece of choreography" (New Mobility). It's a type of dance genre that utilizes modern and contemporary dance styles. Both styles are more relaxed, and use freestyle dancing techniques. These styles focus on the fluidity and natural energy of the body as the means to express the emotion of the dance and/or dancers. It is common to see various props used in physically integrated dances, such as a wheel from a wheelchair or a crutch or cane, along with dancers who use the devices themselves. The artistic value and expression are broad and without boundaries. Physically integrated dance describes the participants, and not all physically integrated companies work within the modern and/or contemporary dance style. Several use ballet as their style. The term "freestyle" would seem to imply that there is no technical foundation for the movement. Speaking strictly for Full Radius Dance (see below), it is firmly rooted within a modern-based technique.
The creation of integrated dance began in the 1980s. Dancers from modern and contemporary dance backgrounds explored the idea of physically integrating dancers with disabilities with other dancers to create unique dance pieces. This movement seeks to broaden the definition of "dance" and "dancer" and increase opportunities for artistic expression through movement for a wide spectrum of physical attributes and disabilities. The emergence of integrated dance is part of the disability culture movement. It recognizes and celebrates the first-person experience of disability, not as a medical-model construct, but as a social phenomenon, through artistic, literary, and other creative means (AXIS Dance). Today, there are several integrated dance companies worldwide. Each dance company is different, but they all celebrate the artistic value and expression of dance and believe in the empowerment of people with disabilities through dance.
What is Full Radius Dance?
|A man that uses a wheelchair is dancing with a woman in a modern dance pose.Courtesy of Full Radius Dance|
Full Radius Dance (FRD) is an integrated modern dance company. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the company has been in existence for 13 years. All of its performances incorporate dancers with and without disabilities. FRD believes that everyone, including persons with disabilities, should feel welcome to participate in the performing arts and have the opportunity to experience a greater awareness of themselves and their potential cultural contributions to society. Its mission is to promote, advance, and enhance the modern dance art form for persons with disabilities, dance artists, and the general community. FRD describes itself as a modern dance company working within the field of physically integrated art.
The dance company officially became Full Radius Dance in 1998, when two dance companies - Dance Force and E=motion - merged. FRD was founded by Douglas Scott (Dance Force) and Ardath Prendergast (co-founder with Scott) of E=motion. The modern dance company creates, commissions, and performs work that challenges prevailing attitudes about disability and dance; is mature and choreographically complex, celebrating technique and physicality; and presents inventive new movement possibilities.
The Founder Douglas Scott is FRD's Artistic/Executive Director. Graduating with a degree in Performing Arts from Western Kentucky University, Douglas started his dancing career with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Company. After a few years, he started his own dance company, Dance Force. With his own company, he had the freedom to explore using dancers with and without disabilities to create innovative and unique dance performances. This technique of combining dancers of different abilities is known as integrative dance. This eventually led to the merging of the two dance companies (Dance Force and E=motion) to become Full Radius Dance.
|Courtesy of Full Radius Dance|
Education and Outreach Programs
FRD offers awareness programs in specific settings such as schools, corporations, and the community. Through awareness, it is able to educate others on the subject of disability and the power of dance by providing the following programs:
Modern Atlanta Dance Festival
An annual event created by FRD in 1995, it is designed to showcase the diversity and excellence of the local dance scene.
This program offers dance classes and lecture demonstrations for children and adults with disabilities and the general population. These classes feature a technique-based dance program that lets participants explore creative expression in a non-judgmental setting that provides an entertaining, informative look at physically integrated dance and helps to dispel some of the myths about persons with disabilities.
The lecture demonstrations, which consist of an informal performance by FRD, provide an entertaining and informative look at physically integrated modern dance. Typically 30 to 40 minutes in length, the lecture demonstrations incorporate professional dance, audience participation, and a question-and-answer session. These can be tailored to all ages and situations.
FRD offers 1 1/2 to 2-hour technique classes that touch on the basics of physically integrated dance technique, including warm-up, center floor, and traveling exercises, as well as FRD's innovative partnering techniques. These classes can be geared to all age ranges, abilities, and levels of experience, and are structured to fit the population's specific needs, from beginning social dance partnering to creating choreographic works.
Designed to support dance teachers in their work with all populations, teacher training workshops balance theory, practical knowledge, and the understanding and use of FRD's philosophies and techniques.
Corporate Diversity Training
FRD can provide corporations and businesses with workshops geared to your needs, including ADA compliance, sensitivity and awareness training, and tactics for building a successful team. Often, the centerpiece of the diversity training is a performance by FRD that highlights the strength found in diversity and the importance of teamwork. These presentations can be tailored to any size group.
Full Radius Dance Performances
- Walking on My Grave and Other Dances (2011)
- The Full Radius Dance Holiday Spectacular III (2009)
- Home (2009)
- The Full Radius Dance Holiday Spectacular II (2008)
- Passione (2008)
- The Full Radius Dance Holiday Spectacular I (2007)
- Sideshow (2007)
- Passione (2006)
- Both Sides Now (2006)
- Crawl/Climb (2005)
- As the Horizon Fades (2004)
- Schmaltz with Flowers (2004)
- Finding Family (2003)
- 10 Things We Do in the Dark (2002)
- Mutation (2002)
- That Sno' Waltz (2001)
- Dream a Little Dream (2001)
- Tattoo of the Past (2000)
- I Am (2000)
- In the Vale of Borrowed Time (1999)
- The Wounding of Cupid (1998)
- Transcendence (1997)
- Shell Games (1995)
- 5 Aunts from Berwick (1994)
- Rope (1993)
- Out of Wednesdays (1993)
- 3 out of 5 (1991)