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Animated Edition - Spring 2002
From the editor
Scilla Dyke MBE
Our bodies are inscribed with our histories - etched by 'political' events, the people we meet and the journeys we travel and 'as we register and respond, whether we notice it or not' reminds Miranda Tufnell 'we [can] lose connection to what is happening within us - we suppress "symptoms" with drugs or sheer acts of will and the corrosive effect of lack of movement sets in'.

So, whether through accident, injury, illness or political history their legacy, muse Nick Shepherd and Nicola Visser, 'forms or dis-forms us in the course of their passage'. When compounded by political agendas, legislation, cultural differences and education it can mean that people be they artists, choreographers, practitioners or participants become 'involuntarily' excluded.

2003 is the European Year of Disabled People. animated, in the first of a two part series, highlights the right of disabled people to have dance as a life and career option. This formed the central premise of Dancing Differently?, a landmark conference based on three years' of research by The Foundation for Community Dance and Dance Initiative Greater Manchester. Its aim? - to celebrate the achievements of those who have pioneered independence, inclusion and diversity and 'to develop' in the words of Ken Bartlett 'a clear national agenda with realistic strategies'.

But, ask Nick Owen and Mandy Redvers Rowe, 'does integration have to mean assimilation into or replication of dominant cultural norms'. They argue that in our attempt to 'integrate disabled people and establish a cultural presence, we can inadvertently reinforce the cultural absence of disabled people'.

Attempting to bring excluded individuals 'back into the frame of human reference' is a Human Rights issue. Suz Broughton talks about the impact of a radical dance performance in HMP Holloway and believes that by focusing on the artform it 'can have far-reaching effects - a gentle reminder of their true value' as people and as women.

The way in which the female identity is shaped by the complex roles that we undertake as mothers and daughters is investigated by Marion Gough and Erica Stanton in their seminal work, My Mother My Daughter Myself. In it they consider the intense but compelling relationships and the tensions of support and dependency, for survival for an independent female artist and choreographer can necessitate moving rapidly between facilitator, enabler, administrator, dance manager, teacher, mother and carer.

The threat of litigation is not always uppermost in our minds as artists, choreographers or practitioners yet with the advent of a range of legislative directives and in an increasingly litigious society, we can no longer disregard the implications. Rachel Rist and Jeannette Siddall raise some critical issues surrounding the complex area of touch (and contraindicated exercise).

Implicit in our survival as 'global artists' or practitioners is finding an oasis, a place to reflect and - as Fleur Derbyshire ponders - where we can be distanced from our daily portfolio lives. For, as 'reflective practitioners', respect not only for our clients' welfare but also for ourselves is paramount. Dance faces a critical time. It is imperative that the artist's voice and presence remain at the fore. We must value that expertise, confront our beliefs, make a commitment to stem the haemorrhaging of talent, and heed the changing climate, for it is counsel we simply cannot afford to ignore...
  • After six years in the editor's chair, this is my last issue of animated. It has been a job of a lifetime and a privilege to have worked with so many extraordinary people - from artists to ministers, funders to directors, practitioners to participants - spanning cultures, continents and genres. I would like to thank all those contributors whose commitment and passion have helped make animated the magazine it is today. Vive la danse!

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Animated: Spring 2002