UCLA Disability Inclusion Lab: Dancing Disability June 23-29, 2019. Dance Performance as a social actions (Disability Justice Studies and Choreography)

UCLA Disability Inclusion Lab: Dancing Disability June 23-29, 2019. Dance Performance as a social actions (Disability Justice Studies and Choreography)

The UCLA Disability Inclusion Lab’s DANCING DISABILITY will 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 and their instructors will create a new performance work that challenges “ability paradigms.”

The experimental, weeklong exploration will combine small group study of the histories and social discourses surrounding disability justice, aesthetics and culture with movement exploration and choreography. Participants will engage one another through choreographic study and improvisation sessions designed to expand and deepen action languages while they consider 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.

The lab will culminate in an informal public sharing on June 28, 2019, at UCLA Kaufman Hall’s black box theater.

Dancing Disability, which will be held annually through 2021, will set the stage for increased recruitment on the part of UCLA’s Dance MFA in the Physically Integrated Dance community. More tangible outcomes of Dancing Disability will include essays and scholarship as well as video documentation.

This project is supported through funding from UCLA’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the School of Arts and Architecture.  The Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and Undergraduate Education Initiatives are contributing significant in-kind support.

Click here to read the press release!



June 23-June 29
UCLA Glorya Kaufman Hall

SUNDAY, June 23:


6:00pm-8:00pm             Dinner, orientation and social hour

MONDAY-FRIDAY, June 24-June 28:

8:00am-9:00am             Continental breakfast

9:00am-10:30am            Critical Disability Studies Seminar.
(Led by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson)

10:45am-12:15pm             Doing Lab.
(Improvisational exploration. Led by Victoria Marks)

12:15pm-1:15pm                 LUNCH

1:30pm-3:00pm               Discovery Lab.
(Disability as opportunity. Led by Alice Sheppard)

3:15pm-4:45pm                 Making Lab.
(Choreographic inquiry. Led by Victoria Marks)

5:00pm-6:00 pm             Discussion.
(Led by Garland-Thomson, Sheppard, and Marks)


8:00 pm                               Informal public sharing of work

SATURDAY, June 29:

10:00am-noon                 Closing group breakfast


*We recognize that this is a very full schedule. Please structure your participation within the scope of your own needs for rest, refreshment and stimulation.


Dancing Disability is free of cost to participants. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements and lodging, and they are responsible for any meals not covered by Dancing Disability.


The UCLA Disability Inclusion Lab’s DANCING DISABILITY will offer experienced and emerging disabled dance artists from across the world an immersive engagement in disability studies scholarship alongside movement exploration and choreographic inquiry.

To prepare your application, please complete or obtain the following items:

  1. Completed Application Cover Page (Please note: It is best to download and save the file before filling it out.)
  2. Personal Statement (maximum 600 words)
    1. In addition to the statement, include links to two dance projects. List the title of the work, year, choreographer, composer or design credits, performers, venue. Make clear your role in the production.
  3. Curriculum Vitae/Resume (maximum 2 pages)
  4. Letter of reference
    1. Obtain a letter of reference from a person for whom you have worked or with whom you have collaborated as a dancer or choreographer. This should be emailed directly to us by the recommender at dancingdisability@college.ucla.edu

To submit your application:

Email all files except the letter of reference to the Dancing Disability Application Portal*. Your application materials will be automatically uploaded to a drive once they are received. Upon submission, you will receive a confirmation email when your application has been successfully uploaded.

Important: If you do not receive a confirmation email or if you are having issues uploading your application, please send application materials directly to Dancing Disability at dancingdisability@college.ucla.edu.

*Your application materials should be sent directly to the committee via the following email address:  Dancing.6v5a7eaknru8xcex@u.box.com

Applications are due on February 1, 2019.


  • The Awesome Foundation offers $1,000 no-strings-attached grants every month to people who identify as a person with a disability. These grants can fund any “awesome” idea. For more information, visit their website.
  • For CA Residents: California Arts Leaders Investments (CALI) offers $1,000 grants every month to California residents who have worked for fewer than 10 consecutive years in the arts field, who work with a non-profit in CA as an administrator, artist, board member, or key volunteer. These grants can fund opportunities for emerging arts professional to identify, exercise, and hone their vision or voice. For more information, visit their website.
  • For AZ Residents: The Arizona Commission on the Arts offers grants ranging from $500-750 to Arizona artists, arts administrators, and arts educators to support professional development and skills-building activities which contribute to significant professional growth. For more information, visit their website.
  • For OR Residents: The Oregon Arts Commission offers career opportunity grants ranging from $500-1500 to Oregon residents. Applications must not be students. For more information, visit their website.
  • For NV Residents: The Nevada Arts Council offers monthly professional development grants up to $650 to promote the continuing education of Nevada artists. For more information, visit their website.
Vic Marks portrait

Vic Marks portrait

Victoria Marks, an Alpert Award winner, Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellow, and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, has been practicing knowing and unknowing, making dances for stage and film, for the past 37 years. Her work continues to consider citizenship, as well as the representation of disability. Marks’ creative work migrates between choreo-portraits and action conversations for individuals who don’t identify as dancers, and dances for dancers that fuel her inquiries into movement. Upcoming, Marks and Dan Hurlin re-envision Appalachian Spring.  A recipient of numerous grants, fellowships and awards for her work, Marks has also received the Grand Prix in the Video Danse Festival, the Golden Antenae Award from Bulgaria, the IMZ Award for best screen choreography and the Best of Show in the Dance Film Association’s Dance and the Camera Festival along with director Margaret Williams. In addition to teaching in WACD, Victoria serves as Associate Dean in UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture, and as the Chair of UCLA’s Disability Studies minor.

Rosemarie_Garland-Thomson portrait

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson portrait

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is a national spokesperson for disability whose essay, “Becoming Disabled” was recently featured as the lead piece in a new series by the New York Times of weekly essays by and about people living with disabilities. She is a professor of English and Bioethics at Emory University and co-director of the Emory College Disability Studies Initiative (DSI). She holds affiliated faculty appointments in the Department Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Institute of Liberal Arts, the Center for Ethics, the Institute of Human Rights, and the Office of Sustainability Initiatives.

During her academic career, she has been a leader of interdisciplinary critical disability studies, the emergent field in higher education that promotes inclusion and brings innovative perspectives on disability to academic venues and the wider world. Broadly speaking, her foremost contribution is to bring forward the significance of making the world more accessible in every way to all people.

Alice Sheppard portrait

Alice Sheppard portrait

Alice Sheppard saw Homer Avila, a disabled dancer, perform in 2004. Avila dared her to take a dance class; she did, and she loved moving so much that she resigned her academic professorship at Pennsylvania State University in order to begin a career in dance. She studied ballet and modern dance with Kitty Lunn and made her debut with Infinity Dance Theater. Sheppard joined AXIS Dance Company, an Oakland-based company where she toured nationally and taught in the company’s education and outreach programs. Since becoming an independent artist, Sheppard has danced in projects with Ballet Cymru, GDance, and Marc Brew Company in the United Kingdom and Full Radius Dance, Marjani Forté, MBDance, Infinity Dance Theater, and Steve Paxton in the United States.

An award-winning choreographer, Alice creates movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies. Engaging with disability arts, culture and history, Alice’s commissioned work attends to the complex intersections of disability, gender, and race. Alice is the founder and artistic lead for Kinetic Light, a project based collaborative working at the intersections of architecture, dance, design, identity, and technology to show how mobility – literal, physical, and conceptual – is fundamental to participation in civic life and to American national identity.

Alice is a board member for Dance/NYC, Urban Bush Women, Jess Curtis/Gravity and a leadership council member for CounterPulse. She has served on Dance/NYC’s Disability.Dance.Artistry Taskforce, grant review panels, and is a regular keynote speaker on disability, dance and accessibility.

For more information visit alicesheppard.com


Dancing Disability Public Showing

We strive to make Dancing Disability and the culminating public showing as accessible as possible to all participants and attendees. There is a small team who can provide general assistance (but not medical or personal care).

The public showing of Dancing Disability will have ASL interpretation, audio description, and captioning. The public showing will be fragrance-free. Please refrain from wearing scented products such as perfumes/cologne, hair products, and scented lotions. Please also be aware that UCLA is a smoke and tobacco free campus. Other access requests can be considered. Attendees are encouraged to make their needs known as soon as possible by contacting Dancing Disability.

Glorya Kaufman Hall is ADA accessible. A map displaying accessible pathways, building entrances, and parking structures is available here: https://maps.ucla.edu/downloads/pdf/Access_08_21_15.pdf

Dancing Disability Participants

The Luskin Conference Center is centrally located on UCLA’s campus near the site of many of the Dancing Disability activities. ADA Hotel rooms are available at a first come, first served basis. To reserve a hotel room at the Luskin Conference Center, please use the following link: http://luskinconferencecenter.ucla.edu/reserve/

For Off-campus Hotels within 5 miles of UCLA

UCLA Tiverton House

Hilgard House Hotel and Suites  

Holiday Inn Express, West Los Angeles  

Hotel Angeleno  

Hotel Palomar  

Royal Palace Westwood Hotel  

W Los Angeles, West Beverly Hills  

Looking for an Accessible Hotel?

wheelchairjimmy.com provides a list of certified accessible hotels in the Los Angeles area.


If I don’t identify as having a disability or being physically different, can I apply for Dancing Disability?
Dancing Disability is intended for those who identify as having a disability or physical difference. Priority will be given to those who identify as having a disability or being physically different.

I am a dance artist with an invisible disability. Can I apply?
Yes! Any dance artist who identifies as having a disability is welcome to apply.

I’m a dance artist from outside of the U.S., can I apply?
Yes! However, please note that Dancing Disability is unable to provide funding or cover travel expenses for participants.

The email address to upload my application is odd. Is that the correct email address?
Yes, this is an automatically-generated email address. Unfortunately, we cannot change this address. You will receive a confirmation email when you submit your application materials.

What should I do if my reference needs more time to submit their letter of recommendation?
Please contact Dancing Disability at dancingdisability@college.ucla.edu if you would like to request an extension.


For questions regarding Dancing Disability, please email Dancing Disability.