The funding awarded to the Making A Difference project will support dance with and by performers and choreographers with physical and/or sensory disabilities, thus expanding contemporary dance by an aesthetic of difference. Several different institutions in Berlin have come together for the project – Sophiensæle, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Uferstudios, tanzfähig, Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT - Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin), TanzZeit, Diversity.Arts.Culture and Zeitgenössischer Tanz Berlin (ZTB) – as, despite Berlin’s otherwise large and diverse dance scene, dance by and with artists with disabilities has been almost non-existent up until now, although its perspectives, specific physicality and perceptions can provide vital input into contemporary dance and should also not be ignored with regard to the diversity of representation on stage.
The central guideline for the programme is to fill artistic and non-artistic director and expert positions mainly with people with disabilities, as social equality is manifested in involvement in decision-making and shaping power. A key aspect of this is linking the Berlin scene with outstanding international artists with disabilities who can support the local scenario as mentors. An international research board including Claire Cunningham, Pedro Machado, Sindri Runudde, Silke Schönfleisch and Kassandra Wedel will accompany the project.
A planned multi-year programme with interlocking modules will provide the structural impetus to break through the various exclusion mechanisms. Berlin-based and international artists with disabilities will be researching current themes in three choreographic laboratories, and in four one-month double residencies international and local choreographers with disabilities will be working on their own projects and receive production funding to do so. Three dance productions will be helped by Aesthetics of Access experts to think about opportunities for access into the artistic process so that they become an integral part of the performances themselves. On-going community work, workshops and personalised training programmes will help to create the next generation of dancers with disabilities in all age groups, and teacher training courses will expand the existing educational offer. A concluding international conference will look at the specifics and diversity of the topic and consider it further from inter-sectional perspective.