What does it mean for contemporary dance when other physicalities are added? Physicalities of people with disability, older people, with other cultural experiences?
"Stretching the Physicality of Dance" invited everyone who is looking for possibilities to expand traditional dance bodies, and those who are already addressing the issue. The conference offered them the opportunity to present their ideas, explore their questions, discuss with others and let others inspire them to new things.
Developing dance from diversity: what is the artistic benefit? What is its relevance for technique and virtuousity? How can one teach given the difference in bodies? Dancers, choreographers, teachers, scientists, among others, will all contribute what they have experienced, researched and understood. Work groups with project examples then expanded on this exchange.
The conference was directed towards people interested in dance of any age. Pre-experience in dance, cultural influences or disability of all kinds were not required, but welcome.
Theory was expanded in practice. Directly after the conference, the international workshop festival MeetShareDance 2017 took place in Berlin. www.meetsharedance.com
OPINIONS ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
Das Thema ist neu und spannend. Ich habe viele interessante und sympathische Menschen getroffen und z.T. sehr tiefe und vertrauliche Gespräche geführt. Auch "Kritisch-Hartes" wurde als Bereicherung gesehen, Diversität war auch hier gegeben. Meine Sicht auf meine eigene Krankheit hat sich verändert, mögliche Zukunftsperspektiven sind entstanden.
Ariane Hassan Pour-Razavi
Now I am looking at my work with MS and Parkinson's dancers from a more artistic viewpoint, and am trying to get the participants to feel the same way. Dance is not just therapy with music. I am wondering how we can reach to recognize difference not being hierarchical - different but equal in a realistic way.
The conference was great. It raised up a few important questions... I need time to check my notes and reflect about it.
I extend my gratitude for this opportunity to explore a new area of dance and cultural research at your inaugural conference. Besides enjoying the research and preparation processes for my own presentation that opened new vistas for me as a dance scholar, I was educated and moved by the presentations I attended. It's thrilling to see what people are doing in extending the reach of dance culture and in broadening the concept of "dance as art". Thanks for your part in this quiet revolution.
Ich habe auf viel Input gehofft und habe ihn auch bekommen! Die verschiedenen Formate wie Vorträge, Arbeitsgruppen und Gespräche haben gut funktioniert. Es war schön, dass die Teilnehmer sehr unterschiedlich waren. Die Location war toll, und die Gastgeber*innen sehr sympathisch. Ich bin auch an Wissen und Theorie interessiert, davon gab es relativ wenig.
Ich habe einen neuen Blick für meine tanzpädagogische und choreographische Praxis gewonnen und will Diversität in meiner künftigen Arbeit mehr fördern und fordern. Auch die Zusammenarbeit mit Choreographen mit Behinderungen interessiert mich nun mehr, und ich werde die entstandenen Kontakte für mögliche Zusammenarbeit nutzen. Danke für diese Erfahrung!
Durch die Konferenz habe ich viel Bestärkung und neue Ideen für meine eigene Arbeit als Musiktherapeutin und Leiterin von kleinen Kunstgruppen mit behinderten Menschen gewonnen. Ich empfand die Abgrenzung zur Sozialarbeit zu stark, da sie die nicht in der “öffentlichen Tanzszene“ wirkenden Sozialarbeiter ausschließt bzw. an den Rand drängt. Auch hätte ich mir gewünscht, dass noch mehr Kulturschaffende der Berliner Tanzszene einbezogen worden wären, und mehr Filmmaterial von Projekten, die sich vorstellen. Die Thematik der Konferenz sollte unbedingt fortgesetzt und erweitert werden.
I leave this conference full of energy, motivation to try out, to follow up newly made contacts and to widen my field of experience. Therefore, this conference exceeded any expectation I might have had before. It was well moderated, and it offered ample time for exchange. I particularly enjoyed the 5 minutes presentational format. I'd liked to have more of “Vermittlungs“ strategies and methods in mixed abilities groups of dancing people.
Super gathering! I'd have liked to have more little movement exercises inbetween to digest all the ideas more easily. Contemporary dance as a practice of art should not discuss about inclusion, it should be part of the way of doing it.
Karina Suárez Bosche
Die Konferenz hat mich grundsätzlich bereichert. Sie hat mich weiter sensibilisiert, was Sprache und Ästhetik angeht, und sie hat mich, was aber nicht “schlimm“ ist, verunsichert. Am ersten Tag gaben die inhaltlich und strukturell guten Formate viel Information. Am zweiten Tag waren die beiden Gespräche sehr spannend, auch wenn die Moderation unterschiedlich gut war.
I really enjoyed the conference, it was exciting to see so many people from different perspectives and approaches in dance in one room and to feel that there is an energy and impetus to begin to tackle this territory in Berlin. I think you did a wonderful job and this was a wonderful event and great to hear the beginnings of this evolving discourse. The last panel that addressed language was really important and useful and would have been well placed to begin the conference and frame thinking. I would have liked to have heard more from the voices of disabled artists and the participants in many non-disabled people’s projects, it felt a little like some people were speaking in their place and these voices would have been good to have in the mix. I’m also a fan of ideas for next steps and would have welcomed a moment or a group to map out some thoughts of what people need or want next...
Die positive Stimmung, die Freude und Offenheit im Umgang miteinander während der gesamten Konferenz war ein Kraftspender. Insofern wurde ich reich beschenkt. Ich bin jetzt motiviert, weiterzumachen, dran zu bleiben und tiefer zu gehen. Ich habe das Bedürfnis, in einer inklusiven Produktion zu tanzen, sie eventuell selbst zu organisieren. Ich denke daran, behinderte TänzerInnen nach Österreich einzuladen, als GastchoreografInnen oder als GastdozentInnen an die Uni.
Ich bin überaus dankbar für die Möglichkeit, die die Konferenz mir geboten hat, mich mit Menschen auszutauschen, die die gleiche Vision und Idee in sich tragen. Die Größe und den Umfang der Konferenz hätte ich so nicht erwartet. Das hat mich motiviert und inspiriert, mit meiner Arbeit weiterzumachen, und ich habe Kontakte knüpfen können, die mich dabei unterstützen können.
Meine eigene Vorstellungen zu Tanz und inklusivem Arbeiten wurden sehr gerüttelt. Viele Impulse lassen sich auf meine Arbeit übertragen. Was gesagt worden ist, bezieht sich nicht nur auf behinderte Menschen, sondern allgemein auf andere Gesellschaftsgruppen wie Senioren, Kinder oder Transsexuelle und deren Sichtbarkeit in der Öffentlichkeit. Mir wurden durch die Konferenz meine Sprache und meine Ausgrenzungen, die ich selber mache, deutlich.
Babette Kunze Bornemann
Die Konferenz war wunderbar organisiert. Vom Programm bin ich begeistert. Die Begrifflichkeit ist greifbar geworden. Neue Perspektiven haben sich geöffnet, Verbindungen und Vernetzungen konnten sich bilden. Die Diversität unter den Teilnehmern hat Raum und Zeit bekommen, sich zu zeigen. Mehr Bewegungseinlagen wären schön gewesen. Das Warm-up am zweiten Tag war sehr schön und eine gute Ergänzung zu den verbalen Anteilen.
THE CONFERENCE REPORT
More than 120 people attended the conference in the Uferstudios in the Wedding district of Berlin. With their openness and lively participation they made the conference a great success. The various formats with three longer lectures and 13 short contributions in a forum, with three workgroups and two panel discussions complemented each other diversely. Not only did they provide abundant information, they also encouraged participants to engage in conversation.
In his welcoming address, the Berlin Senator for Cultural Affairs and Europe, Klaus Lederer, emphasized that diversity can not only be seen culturally; essential for him is also the condition of disability.
Joanne Lyons and Tanja Erhart of Candoco Dance Company illustrated the conference theme by sharing the general experiences of an inclusive dance company and the personal of a disabled dancer.
The engagement with the subject was deepened by the two co-directors of tanzfähig, Evelyne Walser-Wohlfarter and Bernhard Richarz, by combining the pedagogical and artistic work of their dance initiative with the construction of otherness in history and society.
Emeritus dance professor Brenda Dixon-Gottschild challenged the participants not to accept these circumstances and introduced them a few dancers who had stood up against it.
The complexity of the topic was reflected in the forum, where in rapid succession participants presented to the audience what they moved or what moved them.
According to their interests, in the working groups the participants turned to special questions. The most popular one was the working group moderated by Silke Schönfleisch-Backofen, in which the question of teaching in difference was investigated. The focus was on the illustrative material introduced by Susanne Schneider, Corinna Mindt and Katharina Senk.
In the working group about the artistic benefit of physical diversity chaired by Karin Kirchhoff, a lively working atmosphere emerged after Sigal Bergman presented the project in which she was involved.
The working group about virtuosity in the stretched physicality of dance moderated by Astrid Kaminski, for which Lisette Reuter had given the suggestion from practice, was controversial.
In the final plenary session of the firsrt day, the results of the working groups were summarized for all participants.
At the next morning a warm-up session led by Evelyne Walser-Wohlfarter gave the participants the opportunity to move on their own. Then, the conference continued in several discussions. In the first panel discussion chaired by Ursula Schorn, the participants followed the ideas of Matan Zamir and Nicola Mascia with the utmost attention It was impressive to witness how these choreographers combined the person and the work and how they exceeded the artistic boundaries.
The second panel discussion, led by Susanne Quinten, was essentially based on the experiences of three discussants, i.e. Dodzi Dougban, Tanja Erhart and Anna Mülter. In its first part, it was about the right wording of the disability expience, and in its second, the discussion put the the conference theme into political practice even more.
In the concluding open discussion with all participants various remarks followed each other in loose association, from the first considerations of what the conference could have brought to the participants, about the view, how in the past five to ten years the handling of physical difference in dance had changed, to the desire to pick up the topic in another session again.
For some participants, their engagement with the stretched physicality of dance continued immediately after the conference. They took part in the international workshop festival MeetshareDance.
WORKING GROUPS SUMMARY
The topic of the conference was further discussed in three groups who worked on specific pedagogical, artistic and scientific questions.
working group 1
The first working group, “How to teach difference?”, was moderated by Silke Schönfleisch-Backofen. In the first of the three introductory lectures within this working group, Katharina Senk exposed on inclusion within Austrian university. Namely, she reported that dance faculties in Austria rarely foster inclusion and only in exceptional cases people with disabilities can access a dance curriculum. For inclusion to take place, a change of attitude is needed at the level of the institutional management as well as with the students. To learn more about what it means to teach within physical difference, speeches by non-academic experts were included in the working group. Susanne Schneider reported on the experience within her association BewegGrund in Berne. In the joint teaching of differently abled groups, dance exercises were at first tackled differently depending on the teachers. They now taught dance technique in such a way that it is possible for everyone to participate without having to adapt the movements to the various physical conditions. This was followed by Corinna Mindt´s intervention that aimed at highlighting how the interplay of commonality and diversity is beneficial in class, as the deliberate physical diversity can contribute to the expansion of the repertoire for all dancers. For example, in the company tanzbar in Bremen, where dancers with and without disabilities are often taught together, words from sign language have been transposed into dance movements. In the discussion that followed, it became obvious that it is not enough to have disabled dancers participating in a dance class for the lesson to take place “in difference”. The risk of such a simplistic view is of overseeing the difficulties as well as the opportunities that result from such a setting. Time has also been pointed out as an essential element when teaching dancers with disabilities. Disabled dancers have a different relation to time when learning movements and more in general, during training. As everything takes longer, non-disabled dancers might fear that their learning will be limited by this.
A change in understanding must take place to avoid the development of special inclusive programmes alongside dance classes with the usual focus on physical performance. In general, disability should be considered similarly to individual traits and as such as something that can also be expressed through dance. Teachers and students are equally responsible for avoiding conformism and stereotypes in education. A more open communication is needed between all those involved to discuss the feasible and the impracticable, the meaningful and the nonsensical. The role of the teacher is particularly important as s/he sets the framework for the class. This encompasses several aspects such as for example the language used in class which can be more or less inclusive. To maintain dance in the foreground and not the differences, the group found important for the participants to these dance classes to discuss the feelings of failure experienced when one does not live up to one´s expectation or if one does not master a technique. Failure can also be learned during a dance class, and this could lead to developing an approach to deal with setbacks. The participants agreed that there is no ready-made concept for teaching (in) difference. Rather, it is only through repeated attempts that physical diversity in dance can be experienced as an enrichment and not as a loss.
working group 2
The second working group, “What is the Artistic Benefit of Physical Diversity?”, was moderated by Karin Kirchhoff. Within this context, Sigal Bergman presented the German-Israeli project “Disruption / Hafra'ah”. The project equally involves professional dancers, scientists and Parkinson's patients. Within the project the experience of the disease becomes a source of artistic inspiration. In a video example Bergman showed, a dancer was seen moving backwards through a hospital ward. The scene is clearly related to Bergman´s personal experience, her own mother is affected by Parkinson, as people suffering from the syndrome find extremely difficult to move backwards. As an artist, she saw multiple benefit in her encounter with people affected by the syndrome who danced. For this reason, in her work she included a range of people and with them, their specific quality of movements, qualities with which she would not have otherwise worked. At the same, through these works, a new audience, Parkinson´s sufferers and their relatives find access to contemporary dance, a world which they would not have otherwise entered. This way of working has furthered Bergman´s understanding of what constitutes a dancer. This in turn allowed for a clarity in the movement rendition. These experiences enlarge the relation of dance to the world in general as they encompass universal topics such as age and death.
A lively discussion followed in the working group. While the remarks repeatedly drew on the therapeutic value of dance for Parkinson's patients, as explored in the project presented, the focus was laid on the artistic dimension of a “stretched physicality of dance”. The discussion centered around how to trigger a change in the audience's view of the disabled body and the role played by empathy was also disputed. As Bergman described, the audience is often challenged when seeing involuntary movements on stage: these are perceived as emotional and at the same time somehow medical. But, as one participant to the working group argued, there are places in this world where exactly these movements have their meaning and value. For example, it is important for Parkinson's patients or disabled people to experience that their uncontrolled movements are just as central for the dance as the controlled ones´ of a trained dancer. At the same time, their self-determination of showing their bodies on the stage, can arouse curiosity in a “normal” audience that in turn is given the chance to overcome the fear of the strange and uncanny. As a participant to the working group put it, one could learn reciprocally: “Do not look at my disability, look at my body, at my physicality!” The discussion also focused on the role of the choreographer and on the fact that one must pay close attention to the moment when this movement quality comes on the stage. By presenting it on stage, one is trespassing a limit and automatically becomes the dancers´ advocate. At the same time, if for the dancers the work can be therapeutic, the choreographer´s goals remain artistic.
Advocacy, therapy and art were perceived not in juxtaposition, but as a triad that must be considered more closely, and especially because of the overlap of art and therapy. The issues involved should not be ignored and the artistic value should remain clear to the audience. A related issue is the question regarding what constitutes an artist or a dancer. The participants found that the definition should not be based on movement alone as paradoxically the movement of a disabled person would inevitably be excluded from the stage but that of a professional dancer imitating the disabled would be seen as artistic.
working group 3
The third working group “Where is the virtuoso in the stretched physicality of dance ?” was moderated by Astrid Kaminski. Kaminski started by asking the working group what they understood and associated with virtuosity. This brought to a bright spectrum of definitions and ideas around the topic and included notions such as special mastery as well as uniqueness, admiration, highly qualified education, willingness to take risks, proneness to injuries but also a somewhat old definition of a certain aesthetic. This was followed by Lisette Reuter´s presentation of her interdisciplinary, intercultural and inclusive project “Un-Label”, in which she emphasized the challenge she faced to ensure an all-inclusive communication that considered artistic, human and physical diversity. With her second question, Kaminski asked the group to picture what a mute singer and a warm fridge had in common. The provocative question was to encourage the participants to think about the physical functions needed in dance. A third question, regarding what it is meant with dance today, rounded off the discussion with clarifications of the concepts mentioned. Again, a wide range of answers was provided. The essence of dance was identified in the bodily presence and in movement, in the design intent and in the disclosure of mental engagement, in the display of lightness, but also in subjectivity and in individual vulnerability. This produced a lively discussion among the participants that could not be concluded in the set time.
Two points of view emerged from this exchange and in regard to the initial question. Some tried to redefine the virtuoso within the notion of the extended dance body. They emphasized that virtuosity should no longer be considered as an absolute, but rather as contextual, and thus discernible when using skills at an individual´s limit. On the other hand, others argued that the whole concept is obsolete and that the aim for virtuosity in an expanded dance body is inappropriate. The idea of virtuosity stems from the genius cult of the nineteenth century and goes hand in hand with the devaluation of all those who today work towards extending the traditional dance body beyond the usual definition. Thus, at the end of the session, a new question arose, namely that of what could then constitute the stretched physicality of dance when dance, in specific contexts, is no longer concerned with virtuosity.
DISCUSSION ROUNDS SUMMARY
Three discussion rounds were dedicated to those who were working on stretching the physicality of dance beyond its usual connotation. By sharing their experiences, thoughts and concerns to the conference participants, these people allowed for a personal glimpse into what they had experienced and what moved them to continue with their research.
Ursula Schorn discussed with Matan Zamir and Nicola Mascia – the Berlin-based choreographers behind matanicola – about the fact that “Diversity exists”. The three had met first the year before, in the context of the EU project ”Moving Beyond Inclusion”. Through the participation to this project the Berlin initiative tanzfähig gave matanicola the opportunity of conducing a four days choreographic research with physical diversity which was attended by Ursula Schorn as an observing guest. Before delving in their project experiences, the three speakers explained what led them to diversity work. Nicola, personally inspired by the fact that his collaboration with Matan was also determined by their differences, found dealing with national, sexual, or personal diversity self-evident. Matan, on the other hand, attributed his interest in otherness to the fact that while grown up, he was captivated by his younger sister who was left unable to speak after a respiratory arrest. Despite her disability, she was able to clearly express her wishes non-verbally. Ursula´s general understanding of dance is instead profoundly shaped by people´s experiences of discriminations in the shadow of the Nazi. Going back to matanicola´s project and the research days during tanzfähig, Matan emphasized that while physical diversity is objectively different and the group with whom they worked was also very heterogenous, on a different level all people are the same. Especially in a dance context, he pointed to the consciousness of presence as the common ground from which dance is created, i.e. that state when attention is not directed to the objects in the external world, but to the way in which the world is perceived from within the subject. Ursula recalled how impressive it had been for her, on the outside, to be able to clearly perceive when the dancers had reached this common ground. The focus was no longer on inclusion but rather on the dancers´ experience of an internal inclusion inside their bodies and emotions. This brought them, despite all physical differences, to be interconnected yet different. Nicola made it clear that they avoided drawing the attention to the fact that they were working with difference as doing so would have influenced the audience´s gazes on the people involved in the project. He also added how his work with deaf and Parkinson dancers is never educational but always artistic. The dancers were in fact thoroughly instructed on what to do or avoid, yet, they preferred to look at what was available and to develop it. This resulted surprisingly, in getting into areas that should have been considered off limits. As an example of this, he described how, in “BodySLANGuage”, a previous performance with deaf and hearing performers, the choreographers had picked on the singing wish of a deaf member. At first, she had been irritated as they had taken her seriously and wanted to help her realize her dream. In the show, she, who had never heard a song before, then sang partly with words and partly with gestures of sign language. It was only after the performance and through the feedback of the deaf people in the audience that she understood the barrier she had pushed.
It is thus consciously that in their joint project Matan and Nicola went to those emotions and challenges filled areas. For them, they had to be touched by something for it to be meaningful to them. Referring to “Bleach,” a piece that they produced with five performers with Down Syndrome, Matan emphasized the importance in their artistic work of connecting, retracting, and learning from their performers. Nicola added that because of the unpredictability of the participants, they had to move away from a fixed structure. Instead, they decided to pick up whatever came from the performers resulting each time in a different performance. In her concluding remarks, Ursula Schorn went back once again to the concept of inclusion by pointing out how by including themselves in the process, Matan and Nicola also automatically included the others. One listener to the discussion panel, a wheelchair-user, described how impressed she was by the fact that matanicola was not exploiting disabled people for their art, but they would rather offer a space for the dancers and their special possibilities.
The following panel on “Dance, Body and Identity” was moderated by Susanne Quinten and included Anna Mülter, Dodzi Dougban and Tanja Erhart. As an introduction, Quinten pointed out that twenty years previously Ann Cooper Albright first brought the attention to the topic in her book “Choreographing Difference”. The panel brought together people from different and mixed backgrounds: Dodzi´s artistic and pedagogical approach, Tanja is a dancer and a cultural researcher with focus on disability studies whereas Anna is a cultural manager .
The conversation started by Quinten asking the panel about the best way to talk about disability or what to avoid. Anna pointed out that she and Tanja had found it problematic the loose use of certain terms in many of the conference's contributions. Referring to disability studies, Tanja stated that the British literature talks about “disabled people” that she interprets as a way of including disabilities as a part of human being. On the other hand, the American literature deliberately speaks of “people with disabilities” putting an accent on the people and not on disability. She also explained the difference between the medical and social model of disability and advised that the term disability is generally negatively charged. In her own practice she uses contemporary dance as a space where she can deal with her body beyond the medical model. Dodzi explained that he did not feel disabled, although he was held as such by hearing people, but rather that he felt stigmatized when contact happened to break because of his deafness. He elaborated upon Susanne's comment that identity results, on the one hand, from how one talks about oneself and, on the other hand, from how people speak about the person. He described his growing up in an African culture where illness was regarded as gods´ punishment. Despite his parents´ conviction of this, they included him in everything they did after he lost his hearing to an illness as a small infant. He eventually learned to speak through them.
Anna pointed to the terminology used in conversation. She explained how distinguishing between disabled and normal performers creates a hierarchy, and suggested instead using the term non-disabled performers. She urged everyone to become more sensitive to the images created through language. Next, the moderator asked what role played the body in disabled dancers´ self-image. Tanja described herself as having three bodies in dance and depending on whether she was dancing with crutches, in a wheelchair or without aids. The decision mostly rested with the choreographer and with which of her physicalities he wanted to work or on how she presented herself to the choreographer. Dodzi recognized himself also in this situation as having several bodies. He picked up the rhythm on the floor and communicated with his body. At the same time, he did not miss the melody, because he found it in his body. As a part of an institution, Anna saw herself as responsible for countering the dominant body images in the media and for ensuring that the different physicalities in society were also reflected on the stage. She also found shocking that very few from the Berlin dance scene were at the conference as the potential of different physicalities is neglected in Berlin. She also pointed out that there were no artists with disabilities in positions of responsibility. For this reason, she hopes that the concerns the senator for culture expressed at the opening of the conference would also be reflected in decisions of cultural policy. As a last thing, Susanne asked what would mean if society would no longer make distinctions between disabled and non-disabled persons, if difference would no longer play a role. If society had become sensitive to all differences, what would then be in the participants´ opinions the world of contemporary dance. Dodzi wished for more naturalness in dealing with each other. He regretted that the deaf community did not see themselves as part of the disability community and that deaf people spent most of their lives outside of the music and the dance context.
Tanja spoke against the dichotomization in disabled and non-disabled. She expressed the opinion that contemporary dance could help to break the reproduction of usual stereotypes about disability connecting the term to other images. Dodzi then added that in his work with children and adolescents, he did not work with “disabled / non-disabled” but approached them as an individual and told them that not everything that they made was impeccable. Anna said that as a curator in an institution, she finds herself on an exciting place where disability is no longer marginal but challenges dominant beliefs; regarding the Berlin dance scene, she hoped that more consciousness would develop for the intersection of disabled and queer.
At the end the participants took part to an open discussion led by Bernhard Richarz. In their contributions, they followed his request to express their currents thoughts and concerns, which of the contributions and discussions had touched them the most or if they had to add something to the discussion. Their remarks created a colorful pattern of further suggestions, personal wishes or insights and examples/validations in society.
The first speaker, Babette Kunze Bornemann, described the topic of the conference as innovative and suggested that a similar conference should take place in two years-time so to involve more people with disabilities. Ariane Hassan Pour-Razavi found the discussion about how to properly address disability so confusing and without a clear conclusion, especially for a person as herself who is directly concerned, that for her it remained unclear what it would mean for her to dance professionally and left her unsure whether at all she wanted to start. On the other hand, Gabriele Gierz noted how the conference had changed her thinking. For her, her work with elder people in dance was no longer fundamentally different from that with disabled people. As festival organizer, Karin Kirchhoff emphasized that she looked at the quality and not at the physical conditions of the dancers, so that for her the key question was on how to regulate the access to professional education.
Although Stefanie Josefine Katzer had long been concerned with inclusion, it is only through the conference and the encounter with disabled dancers that she could allow herself to look at her own body and physical limitations. Dodzi Dougban urged the curators and cultural managers to give everyone the same opportunities, to work with everyone, disabled or not. To avoid coming up always to the same barriers, that is, not to be taken seriously in the artistic context, as soon as people with disabilities are involved, Lisette Reuter thought it important to involve even more politicians in the conversation. She saw an opportunity if those working in the field came together and networked to implement inclusion not only in education but also in culture. Susanne Quinten indicated in sensitization, also physical sensitization, as the word that left her with the strongest impression as it allows to address questions of difference inside society. Silke Schönfleisch-Backofen wanted more brave people; because, she continued, if we dared to do things that we burn for, then we would create art with or without disability – and maybe also producing more of what we wish for. Jess Curtis underlined how much has been done in recent years in the field of dance and disability. Recalling when he organized a symposium on the subject in Berlin in 2010, there were only very few people present. He also warned against disabled bodies being colonized: he himself received twenty times more support by incorporating disabled physicalities in his work. As an example of change, he referred to his long-standing collaboration with Claire Cunningham, who initially performed with him and most recently hired him as a choreographic adviser.
Sigal Bergman was amazed to realize how disconnected and shortsighted everyone was in the dance field. For example, she worked with Parkinson dancers, but not with other disabled people. She also knew little about what they needed, or of how they viewed the world. Stephanie Greenwald added that there was a lot of art at the conference, but it was also of value if people with Parkinson's or MS were dancing solely to improve their health. Luke Pell was impressed by how many people, perspectives and identities were gathered at the conference, and he rejected as false the statement that everyone was disabled. Rather, he invited conference attendees to consider that the structures in art are made by non-disabled people and thus to question which voices were heard and who made the decisions. Kathryn Rees referring to her classroom experience, found it imperative that dancers with Down syndrome should also be able to receive a dance training that matches with their passion for the dance. Sarah-Lena Brieger found it as remarkable to have met so many people with similar ideas and visions. She felt society had to open a lot more and from an early age, also the audience had to be encouraged to think differently. The last to intervene, Ariane Hassan Pour-Razavi, found it difficult to ask non-affected people to open more to the theme of the conference. In her opinion, not everyone could bear to look at seriously ill people on stage. Nevertheless, she went on, it was necessary to consider what could be improved in society so that the hurdles would not be so high and the handling more self-evident.
As last, the closing words to the open discussion and conference were given to the organizers:
Nik Haffner, head of the HZT Berlin, raised the question of whether to have another conference in two years would not be too long a time, rather he suggested for a more continuous format. He himself, he continued, wanted to bring the subject to the Dance Education Conference, even though it could be challenging for the majority to imagine.
Speaking for tanzfähig, Evelyne Walser-Wohlfarter was overwhelmed by how many people had come and taken up the theme of the conference; so that a wish was already fulfilled for tanzfähig. Although she did not know at the moment how to proceed, she was convinced that things would continue.
As a representative of the umbrella organization Dachverband Tanz Deutschland, Michael Freundt saw as essential that the conference had given artists with diversity visibility, and he said that the more often this occurred, that the Other assert themselves the clearer the potential change to the norm would become. On this issue, which concerns everyone, he emphasized, that the umbrella organization could create a network and appeal to politicians and sponsors as well as those who worked on stage or in education.