The College of Arts and Sciences is organizing a special event to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities. An evening featuring dance, discussion and viewing of a groundbreaking documentary will help attendees better understand how to continue to dispel myths associated with disabilities.
The event is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in Goldstein Auditorium. It will feature a dance performance by Tina Christina-Price and her dance partner Rik Daniels, a discussion with filmmakers Simi Linton and Christian von Tippelskirch and a screening of their documentary “Invitation to Dance”.
“It’s an honor to have Simi, Christian, Tina, and Rik come to Syracuse University to help our campus community better understand how far we’ve come since the ADA became law,” says Karin Ruhlandt, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a driving force behind the evening’s events. “Overcoming outdated attitudes is key to changing the mindset about disabilities, and Simi, Christian and Tina go a long way towards doing that”.
"Dance is for everyone and not just a few,” says Professor of Disability Studies Stephen Kuusisto, who also serves as director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program. “Simi and Christian’s film highlights the ways art and joy unite everyone regardless of age, disability or land of origin."
“Invitation to Dance”, tells the story of Linton, who was injured while hitchhiking to Washington to protest the war in Vietnam. Suddenly a young college student with a disability, she confronted discrimination she couldn't have imagined before. Linton emerges as a resourceful activist, and in time realizes that love, sexuality and dance can once again be central to her life. Reviewer Rachel Adams from the LA Times writes "['Invitation to Dance'] invites us to see how the movements of people in wheelchairs, people with the rolling gait of cerebral palsy, people with one arm or leg, people with conjoined fingers, crutches, braces and all manner of adaptive devices challenge the ways the able bodied have defined what counts as dance. As it does so, 'Invitation to Dance' tells a story about movement as a form of self-expression and as the collective public actions of people with disabilities demanding the right to access and inclusion."
Christina-Price has dedicated her life to dispelling the myth that dance and disability cannot coexist. She suffered from polio as a child, which left her paralyzed from the neck down for more than two months. She is the founder of the Aspire Dance Co., which features mixed-ability dancers in performances geared to change the perception of dance and disability.
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception and then a dance performance by Christina-Price and Daniels. Afterward, “Invitation to Dance” will be screened, with a question and answer session including Linton and Von Tippelskirch to immediately follow. The evening will be capped off with a dance party. Sign language interpreters and CART services will be available.