Picture of man in wheelchair dancing with woman who is on her feet.

Dance should be for all bodies regardless of size, age, race, gender, or physical challenges.

Inclusive dance - for all bodies and abilities - gets magazine recognition

  • March 18, 2010 4:00pm

The ambitious dream of Theatre and Dance Assistant Professor Eric Kupers to create a Cal State East Bay degree in inclusive dance is mentioned in the spring issue of “Conscious Dancer,” a two-year-old magazine out of Berkeley that celebrates “movement for a better world.”

A strong believer that dance ability is not limited by size, age, race, or gender, Kupers teaches both Dance for All Bodies and Abilities as part of the first-year Cal State East Bay cluster program, and Inclusive Dance Techniques, which is funded through grants with Clausen House Program for Adults with Developmental Disabilities, in partnership with Shawl-Anderson Dance Center.

In Kupers’ classes, students physically challenged in any number of ways, those who use wheelchairs or other walking devices, or who haven’t moved their bodies in decades, are on equal footing with that fit young, svelte, athletic mold.

“I’m interested in challenging the rigid qualifications . . . that dancers often have to fit in order to be professionals,” says Kupers in the magazine.

A year ago, Kupers’ bold interpretation of Sam Shephard and Joseph Chaikin’s Tongues ­– a collage of views, memories and interpretations on dying illustrated by a diverse cast of persons with and without physical impairments – became only the second CSUEB show in memory to be invited to perform at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C.

Kupers’ spring Dance for All Bodies is full, but to be a part of the Techniques class, contact the instructor at eric.kupers@csueastbay.edu.

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California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

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