In Very Excellent Disabled Dancing, three visibly disabled dancers expose the distinct, persistent differences in the way dance is consumed and understood when performed by people with disability. The work involves a synergy of movement and video. The dancers physically demonstrate the effects of the external, objectifying gaze, amplified by capturing and projecting their movement via live video feed. This is then contrasted against movement from a place of knowledge and resistance — magnified by intimate, pre-recorded footage. The dancers lay bare anatomical preoccupations, saccharine sympathy and uninformed hostility — confronting and defiantly reframing the dominant gaze to make way for genuine engagement with, understanding of, and appreciation for diversity in dance.
Choreographer/performer: Riana Head-Toussaint
Performers: Georgia Cranko and Holly Craig
Videography: Riana Head-Toussaint and Lux Eterna
Sound design: Riana Head-Toussaint and Stephen Dobson
Outside Eye: Imogen Yang
Keir Choreographic Award 2020
Program One (3, 5 & 7 March):
Program Two (4, 6 & 7 March):
Riana Head-Toussaint is a multidisciplinary artist with disability, who uses a manual wheelchair for mobility. Her practice spans a variety of areas including dance, theatre, immersive/participatory performance, acrobatics and film. She regularly collaborates with other artists and non-artists, and embedding access is an important part of her artistic process. Her work often involves interrogating dominant systems, structures and ways of thinking. Head-Toussaint has undertaken professional development with a range of companies and individuals, including Candoco Dance Company (UK), Bill Shannon (US), Gravity & Other Myths (Aus), Nat Randall (Aus) and James Batchelor (Aus). In 2020, she begins an Artistic Associate role with contemporary performance company Branch Nebula. Head-Toussaint’s solo and ensemble work has been presented at ATYP, WOW Festival, Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Sydney Fringe, Crack Theatre Festival, 107 Projects and Carriageworks. As well as being an artist, Head-Toussaint is a qualified lawyer, access consultant and disability activist.
The Keir Choreographic Award Dancehouse Public Program is presented by Dancehouse in partnership with City of Yarra, Abbotsford Convent, Faculty of the VCA and MCM | University of Melbourne, Temperance Hall, Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc., Common Rooms and The Mill. Dancehouse would like to warmly thank the Keir Foundation for making this public program possible. Accomodation proudly supported by City Tempo.