Atlanta’s Full Radius Dance Introduce Disability and Art to “Experience of Disability in America” Students
Photo courtesy of Scott Nilsson Photography
“Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.” – Neil Marcus
Earlier this semester, representatives from Full Radius Dance of Atlanta spoke to a class of about 90 Georgia State University undergraduate students about people with disabilities as artists and athletes. These undergraduates are students in the course titled, “The Experience of Disability in America.” These students are not disability studies majors; most of them have never been introduced to the concept of disability in a formal way. The primary goal of the course is to expose students in various fields- from criminal justice to exercise science to economics- to disability-related issues, thus producing a cohort of well-informed, respectful citizens who will bring their knowledge of disability into all facets of their lives.
During the class, company founder and artistic director Douglas Scott and Ms. Laurel Lawson, a company member for 10 years, introduced the concept of disability and art. This was a new concept for the majority of the students. After watching a videotaped performance, students had a question and answer session with Mr. Scott and Ms. Lawson. Students were impressed and intrigued by the performance and discussion with Douglas and Laurel. Steven Francois, a senior studying Criminal Justice, reflected on the performance. “Before today, I never thought of people with disabilities who use wheelchairs as dancers. Unfortunately it’s just not a concept that is seen a lot in mainstream media,” he explained. “The representatives from Full Radius changed my perceptions of people with disabilities. They really showed us just how wrong some stereotypes about people with disabilities are. I wish more people could see it,” he explained.
And, you can see it! The company’s annual performance is just around the corner. Full Radius will present “New/Favorites: World Premieres and Reimagined Works: Memory, Energy and Instinct” on January 24th and 25th at the 7StagesTeahter in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit: https://fullradiusdance.org/experience/performance/events.