Today is International Day of Disabled People and it is wonderful to be celebrating the day through a true international exchange with Deaf and disabled artists from the UK and Brazil.
It is also day eight of our adventure with Crescer e Viver in Rio. Every single day has been a gem of discovery as all the artists have pushed themselves beyond their personal boundaries. Vinicius Daumas led an amazing clowning workshop which instilled the group with a sense of theatrical confidence. Graeae‘s aerial choreographer, Tina Carter, has been leading the Crescer e Viver tutors in working with a diversity of different bodies to dismantle the fear of disability. Each artist has also had some specialist one to one tuition. The attention to detail and continual exploration of how best to adapt movements and improve on technique has been extraordinary to witness.
Yesterday our stilts tutor Luis told me this was the first time he had seen two artists, one profoundly Deaf and one partially deaf with two prosthetic legs, sign in British Sign Language and Brazilian Sign Language whilst walking on stilts. We have made history!
Another artist, having said his involvement in circus was probably not possible because he is a paraplegic, has started his journey working on silks. Through becoming aware of what is possible he has amazed himself and created another moment in history.
It is vital that we harness the spirit of this venture, give the ensemble a goal to work towards and create a show. We are very aware there is still a long way to go but we are determined to show audiences in the UK, Rio and São Paulo what is possible.
Jenny Sealey, 3rd December 2013