Performing between Intention and Unconscious Daily Gesture. How Might Disabled Dancers Offer us a New Aesthetic Sensibility?

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalAbout Performance
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2012
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This paper proposes an examination of recent work created by a physically and learning disabled performer, Edward Wadsworth, to consider how performance by disabled dance authors may offer new aesthetic engagements which shift our perception of the territory between what is functionally possible and the 'extra-daily' conditions of the performing body. The discussion focuses on two moments within a recent piece of work made by Wadsworth in collaboration with the author, for the group Cyrff Ystwyth who are based in Aberystwyth in the west of Wales. That autobiographical piece, called 'Brighton Beach', was created over 18 months and performed in the summer of 2009 as part of a long term research enquiry into the phenomenology of radically alternative performing bodies. This paper, then, considers how Wadsworth's work interrogates the assumed relationship between the trained performing body and audience through an examination of the devising process, the relationships of disabled and non-disabled performers within the group, the rigours of performance and the demands placed on untrained bodies to become 'extra' in the act of performance. What are the implications of 'extra-daily' movement for disabled performers and how might they articulate alternative aesthetic demands?