Creating space for creativity – collaborative processes with neurodiverse and disabled groups
In this seminar, four dance artists and pedagogues tell about their work with people with special needs and especially with people on the autism spectrum and with learning disabilities. Saša Asentić (DE/Ser), Trude Cone (USA/NL), Sally Davison (UK/FI) and Liisa Pentti (FI) are performance and dance artists who have an interest in opening up artistic practices and developing corporeal working methods together with different groups. Each speaker has a wide and diverse working history with neurodiverse and disabled participants.
Through what kind of means is it possible to encourage the process of agency, independency and creativity in a person with autism or learning difficulties through choreographic practices? How is corporeality present in the work and how do these processes support the everyday life of a person with these disabilities? Each of the four speakers present their experiences after which the participants have a chance to ask questions and discuss the topic. The seminar is facilitated by Head of Zodiak’s Engagement Katja Kirsi.
The seminar is organised by Liisa Pentti +Co, Zodiak – Center for New Dance and Goethe-Institut Finnland.
Saša Asentić is a choreographer, performance maker and cultural worker. Since 2007, his work has been presented internationally. Asentić is interested in exploring the relationship between the individual and society and analyzing it in terms of social choreography. His performances were selected for Tanzplattform Deutschland in 2016 and 2020, as well as his artistic research work for Tanzkongress 2019. He has taught as a guest professor or lecturer at different education institutions: Institute for Applied Theatre Studies (University of Giessen), The Centre for Contemporary Dance (University for Music and Dance Cologne), Akademie für kulturellen Bildung, and others. Asentić works in the field of contemporary dance, performance and disability arts.
Trude Cone lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands and has worked 40 years for the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK), most of the time as dance educator, the last 14 years as student coach for students with problems in study/work/life from all faculties studying at the AHK. She is a certified Body Mind Centering® Practitioner, Neuro Physiological Psychological (INPP) therapist, and Rhythmical Movement Consultant, specialized in early movement patterns and learning strategies and is a member of ISMETA and BMCA.
Sally Davison (UK/FI) is a movement activist dwelling in a forest in Espoo, Finland since 2003. Davison’s work is influenced and biased by the DanceAbility method and somatic movement practices to validate the agency of the body for every body. Her work is underpinned in supporting new narratives to emerge individually and collectively to destabilise ableism and normalcy in the dance field but also in the social and cultural sectors. Davison is chairperson of DanceAbility Finland, artistic director of Kaaos Company, curator of X Dance Festival, and a somatic movement educator working in the field of well-being.
Liisa Pentti is one of the key visionaries of the Finnish dance scene. She has worked intensively as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and curator since 1987. She is moving in a landscape where dance, performance and theatre are combined, and she is well known to question and explore the limits of performative expression. Pentti has a long career as a teacher in Finland and abroad, e.g. in Theatre Academy Helsinki, European Dance Development Center (EDDC) in Arnhem, Open University and Vasa Yrkeshögskola. She also has wide experience of working with non-professionals, for example healthcare workers, prisoners and people on the autism spectrum. Pentti was awarded the State Prize for the Performing Arts in November 2019 by Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the National Council for the Performing Arts.
Photos: Sari Antikainen, Tessa Posthuma de Boer, Aleksandar Ramadanovic