Disability inclusive dance program takes centre stage

Posted 6 years ago by Andrew Lodiong
Restless dance performer on stage. (Photo: Shane Reid)
Restless dance performer on stage. (Photo: Shane Reid)

Creating a space for expression while delivering a unique show has seen the Restless Dance Theatre continue to move in the right direction.

Working predominantly with young people, with and without disability, the South Australian program produces high quality, real, raw and uninhibited dance theatre.

Restless Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Michelle Ryan says the performances display diversity on stage.

“The company presents high quality work performed by artists who may not fit the stereotypical dancer image,” she says.

“It is in their difference that audiences see their beauty and creativity.”

The South Australian-based organisation has been at the forefront of this brand of performing arts for over two decades.

It currently has 45 participants across the five programs which cover a wide range of age groups, from as young as eight years old.

Mrs Ryan says the workshops offers plenty of benefits for the those who take part.

“The creative processes enable dancers to express and process complex emotions and learn to manage thoughts and feelings in a supported space,” she says.

“The dancers develop their intellectual capacities including working memory, imagination, generation of ideas and concepts and sequencing events.”

Other physical and social advantages such as fitness, coordination and providing a sense of belonging were also identified.

This year, the theatre programmed for the first time in the Adelaide Festival with a production called Intimate Space.

The production received positive reviews on a local and national level and was nominated for a  Helpmann Award for ‘Best New Work’ and two Ruby Awards for ‘Best New Work’ and ‘Arts Innovation and Enterprise’.

Mrs Ryan says performing at the festival was a “big coup” with the award nominations great recognition for their hard work over 26 years.

“I felt that it was a great educational way to show what people with disabilities can do in a beautiful way.”

“To be seen on that national and local level (for the Helpmann and Ruby awards) was fantastic,” she says.

The Restless Dance crew is taking their show to Queensland in 2018, and is busy rehearsing for their two tours.