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

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.

  • 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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