Monday, April 26, 2021 @ 10:00 am CST
Dance matters, and it matters that a student of any varying physical, sensory, and intellectual ability is able to dance, too! Instructors from The Dancing Wheels Company & School specialize in teaching physically integrated dance for people with and without disabilities. This virtual workshop allows participants to engage in an inclusive dance experience based on the Company’s foundational principles of translation, equity, accessibility, and meaning. Using the Dancing Wheels methodologies of physically integrated dance, rooted in scientific research and creative inquiry, the workshop class will teach modern technique for participants of all abilities.
If dance is an expression of the human spirit, then it is best expressed by people of all abilities. That is the fundamental belief behind the Dancing Wheels Company & School. Considered one of the premier arts and disabilities organizations in the U.S., Dancing Wheels is a professional, physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities. Mary Verdi-Fletcher, the first professional wheelchair dancer in the U.S., founded the Dancing Wheels Company in Cleveland in 1980. Born with spina bifida, Mary wanted to offer others with disabilities full and equal access into the world of dance. Mary’s vision and passion have since helped to revolutionize our very notion of dance and what defines a dancer. To date, the Dancing Wheels Company’s inspirational mission has touched over 5 million people through performances, residencies and workshops, and the company celebrates its 40th anniversary season this year.
Mary Verdi-Fletcher is the President/Founding Artistic Director of Dancing Wheels Company & School. Verdi-Fletcher has been the world’s first and foremost professional wheelchair dancers, she has worked and studied with such esteemed artists a pioneering force in the development and success of physically integrated dance for nearly 4 decades. Seeing the need for training and career opportunities for dancers of all ability levels, Mary created the multi-arts Dancing Wheels School in 1990. Attracting students from around the globe, the school is considered the worldwide center for physically integrated dance & Arts Access. As an educator, Mary has conducted master classes and lectures and has consulted with notable arts institutions across several continents. Also a tireless arts administrator and advocate, Mary has helped develop state and national programs for arts and disability service organizations and has worked to help to pass significant pieces of legislation. Her efforts have paved the way for others in their quest for full and equal access. Mary is a recent recipient of the Cleveland Arts Prize, OhioDance Award for contribution to dance in Ohio, Governor’s Award for Arts Education in Ohio, has been recently elected to the Board of Directors of DanceUSA and is a member of the ADACleveland committee.
Sara Lawrence-Sucato is Rehearsal Director, Company Dancer, and Director of Outreach & Community Engagement at the Dancing Wheels Company & School. Originally from Columbus, OH, she graduated with honors from Mercyhurst University (Erie, PA) with a degree in dance. Sara has fifteen seasons as a dancer, serves as the company’s Rehearsal Director, and oversees the School of Dancing Wheels’ education and outreach programming. In her capacity as a Master Teacher and Director of Outreach & Community Engagement, Sara teaches physically integrated dance technique in residencies, workshops, and master classes for Dancing Wheels.