Dancing became an essential part of our life long ago. Just remember the first tribe dance. Since then, dancing has developed greatly. But still, people consider Terpsichore as a goddess of dancing. She patronizes everybody who starts to dance or just does first steps. Dancing, to my mind, has become that part of life where everybody becomes equal. You sink in music, your feelings and your movements. Your gender or disability does not matter. Or does it? Let us see.
First of all, we need to determine what the gender is. Somebody may confusingly think that this word refers only to grammar. While thinking broader, we understand that gender is a synonym to “sex”, that is male or female. If we take our life as an example, we see that work is done according to gender. And most work is preferable to be done by a man. Is it the same for dancing? No! Surprisingly, but girls do their best in this field. Just look into ballet classes: mostly girls are at the barre. But is it the same for modern dances? Hip-hop, dub step, r&b: all these dances were first made by a man. So, can we say that gender is a defining factor for becoming a dancer? To my mind, it is absolutely not. A person should choose by him- or herself. Sometimes, of course, parents do this choice. But anyway, if you feel every step you make by heart, you gender becomes a minor fact. Anyway, there are partner dances, where both a man and a woman can show their best equally. People made up new dancing styles almost every day. And the further we proceed, the greater progress is made.
The second definition we discuss is disability. People have always lived among people who cannot see, hear or speak, or who had limited mobility, comprehension, longevity, or chronic illnesses of different sorts. A person who uses a wheelchair, prosthesis, a hearing aid, a service dog or medications to control seizures, surely has a disability, right? Maybe it is so. And maybe it is not.
The society used to think that disabled people are not good for anything anymore. But thanks to those people who do not give up, we can see brighter future for such people. One of these persons is Alain Platel. He was one of the first in encouraging ill people, especially children, working with neurologists and psychiatrists. Then he used this experience in his own ballet. What is more important, his elaboration was really a new word for the possibilities of a human body, its plasticity, opportunities and limits.
Coming back to our theme, I can surely say that people made a great progress in developing dances for disabled people. And in some cases, they act better than those who have more possibilities to dancing. People using a wheelchair overcome great difficulties for their dreams come true. And what a happy moment it is, when they learn a new step and then the whole dance. Tango, waltz… Such mysterious names! And they become more mysterious for a disabled person. But it is only for a moment. When this person gets support and self-belief, the mystery disappears in the sound of magic music. But what if a person cannot hear this music? What is then? Disappointment may come. Of course, willpower is a great thing. However, it is nothing without support. A person alone can hardly cope with all the problems and inconveniences. But when there is a friend or, what is better, a group of people to help and encourage, this person becomes more confident. Though, one question remains undecided. How could a person dance without hearing the music? To my mind, even this problem, which seems unsolvable, could be decided in cooperation and imagination work. A person can feel everything. Music also can be felt without hearing. So many works are already described with words. Or, as it was shown in one film, you can feel the rhythm with touching a line array. And the main thing is to free your imagination. In such a case nothing matters. One thing that remains is a dance. You get lost in your thoughts… A final chord…You free yourself… What is left for you? An incredible sensation of freedom, pleasure, overcoming of any difficulties and prohibitions! Could a person be named disabled after all? I am sure, he couldn’t. In that case, what makes a person disabled? To my mind, only dark thoughts do.
Let’s assume everything said above. We have found out what gender and disability is. One question is left. What person could be named abled? As for me, some illnesses or using auxiliary devices for easier living don’t make a person disabled. All the problems are laid in our mind. And it is up to you to decide whether you are abled or not. You may be physically abled, but your moral condition may be too weak for surmounting problems and taking different decisions. And as James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”.