From the desk of Guest Editor, and AXIS Dance Company board member, Rebecca Fortelka.
As a self-professed nerd and lover of all things technology, it is amazing to see how technology has transformed our lives, especially those of us with disabilities. Dance, along with technology, takes on a whole new meaning, as not only does technology elevate the presentation of the piece, but it also allows people of all abilities to participate.
Technology for the disabled has come a long way. We now have universal design in terms of building accessibility, workplace modifications, and electronics. But we have a long way to go when it comes to making arts and entertainment accessible for those of us with disabilities.
The problem then becomes how do we continue to innovate in the world of dance and include the ever-changing world of tech? Integrated Dance is one way we can continue to educate the world, break down the barriers of inclusion, and make sure all can participate. One fine example executed this year - AXIS Dance Company's Gaga class in Oakland with Bobbi Jene Smith. This set of classes was an innovative way of gaining knowledge and self-awareness through one's body. The class provided a framework for discovering and strengthening the body while adding to your imagination. It took place in a room with no mirrors. Accompanied by music, in comfortable clothes, each person concentrated on being one with themselves and others.
Sure, technology makes the world a lot more intriguing, but if we do not include all people of different abilities, it is just not as viable and integrated as it could be. Dance is one of those activities that can be low tech or high tech - it is up to you. But all that matters is you're having fun while dancing and learning!