Excerpt from Arts Activate Conference paper to be presented by Philip Channells Artistic Director | Restless Dance Theatre
Restless Dance Theatre is Australia’s leading dance company working with young disabled and non disabled people to create dance theatre and run workshop programs. It is a place where dance is used as a mode of expression which allows people to speak eloquently to everyone. Restless Dance Theatre is an integrated dance company where the art is made by young people for a diverse audience.
To collaboratively create professional calibre dance theatre with young people who predominantly have an intellectual disability
To present unexpectedly real dance theatre works in multiple mediums to
diverse audiences around the world
To stretch artistically and develop wider markets for our work
through artistic risk taking
creating mutual ownership of achievements
ensuring our work and governance is of the highest standard
Restless Dance Theatre provides real opportunities for disabled and non disabled emerging and professional artists to collaborate on stunning, engaging and innovative new work.
“Restless changes our perceptions of people with a disability every time it performs” Nigel Jamieson
The work of the company exists in three broad areas of activity:
• the education (community workshop) program
• the youth ensemble
• the touring ensemble
Professionalism is embedded in our philosophy and in all levels of the company’s operations, from our workshops with the very young to performances by both the youth and touring ensembles.
Sally Chance was the founding Artistic Director of Restless Dance Theatre. The company grew out of a project she and Tania Rose led at Carclew in 1991. Before that time, there was very little in place for young disabled people to access the arts through dance projects. We are one of three funded dance companies that exist in Adelaide, and the only Australian dance company whose artistic director is disabled.
Accessing the arts is an essential human right. For a disabled person in Australia, accessing dance at a professional level is rare. What Restless Dance Theatre does so well is to provide training and skills development for young people through creating innovative dance theatre productions and dance education projects.
From a very early point in my career I knew I wanted to work in this area and I came through the ranks after spending seven years with the company working with all my predecessors, Sally Chance, Kat Worth, Billie Cook and Ingrid Voorendt. I also trained at the Centre for the Performing Arts and Western Australia Academy for the Performing Arts and went on to establish my career in the UK, where disability arts is far more widely accepted, encouraged and promoted.
There are more than 40 dance companies in the UK working with disabled artists. I’ve worked with just a few of them – Candoco Dance Company, StopGAP Dance Company, Corali Dance Company and So! …dancers.
Disabled people in the UK have far greater access to dance programs and tertiary dance institutions because there has been a much greater investment in disability arts through government support. One only needs to examine the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to discover and understand that here in Australia we appear to be lagging behind other nations who are integrating cultures of disability into the mainstream.
Access in the arts is more than about a ramp leading into the side door of a building and its more than providing an accessible bathroom. For me it’s about equality and providing people with real opportunities to participate in our community in ways that are meaningful and engaging.
Artists lack the training and experience to provide disabled people access to education, especially within dance programs across the country. The concept of disabled people considering a career in dance is often misunderstood. Disabled people can dance – Restless Dance Theatre has been proving that for the past 19 years. We just have to get the Tertiary Institutions to understand that and to address the need for appropriate, accessible training for disabled dancers.
"Restless is a place where … people can speak about who they are with pride, integrity and enjoyment." Artwork Magazine
Restless Dance Theatre
Phillip is conducting Masterclasses as part of the Arts Activated Conference 2010 Pre-Conference Dance Events In Inclusive Dance Practice, in March:
Beyond Technique | Searching For Authenticity.
Click here for further details microsoft_word_-_restlessdanceevents
Click here for application form microsoft_word_-_restless_masterclass_app