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Dancing Disability Lab

Photo from the finale of the 2019 Dancing Disability Open Studio. All of the participants and instructors are on stage, lined up from left to right. Everyone is looking at Victoria Marks, whose arm is outstretched, gesturing.


The Dancing Disability Lab was originally designed to offer experienced and emerging disabled dance artists from across the world an immersive engagement in disability studies scholarship alongside movement exploration and choreographic inquiry. Participants are encouraged to create new dance/performance work that challenges “ability paradigms.”

The 2022 Dancing Disability Lab will be an experimental, weeklong exploration that combines small group study of the histories and social discourses surrounding disability justice, aesthetics, and culture with movement exploration and choreography. Participants engage one another through choreographic study and improvisation sessions designed to expand and deepen action languages while considering how we represent, look at, transform, and challenge ideas about the body, and personhood. At the center of this uniquely designed process is the notion that aesthetic production (dance) can serve as a change agent for the continued progress of disability justice.


Photo of two dancers, Harmanie Taylor and Alice Sheppard, both using wheelchairs. Their face each other, their arms reaching up. Harmanie looks up to the ceiling, and Alice, whose back is to the camera, leans forward, lifting her wheelchair's wheels a few inches off the ground.

“Dance represents people and our values and ideas.”

-Victoria Marks


The Dancing Disability Lab, directed by Choreographer and UCLA professor Victoria Marks and co-led by India Harville, dancer/dance maker and equity advisor is returning with in-person dates planned for June 25-July 3, 2022 (pandemic pending).

The Lab continues its commitment to support the growth of artistic community amongst dance artists with disabilities, advocating for aesthetic perspectives informed by diverse corporeal experience. Based on the feedback and experiences of the 20-21 Lab cohort, the Lab has been reimagined with a participant-leadership structure. The focus will be on sharing artistic practice, prompts for group movement and individual exploration, and questions for discussion, generated by artist participants and invited guests. Seeking to align disability justice with creative practice, the Lab is committed to the project of providing an anti-racist, anti-ableist, non-binary, anti-ageist, environment for all, and to building a diverse cohort of artist-participants.

Facilities in UCLA’s Kaufman Hall include a dance studio, a quiet room, and a conference room. The Lab will supply nearby accessible accommodations and address all studio and discussion-based access needs with professional providers. All artist participants will receive a stipend and will have their travel and accommodations covered.


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