The Cyborg Circus Project Presents: Project Disruption
The Cyborg Circus Project Presents:
A Cultural Hotspot SPARK project in partnership with the City of Toronto, and the Ontario Arts Council
What: A movement and dance based performance program exclusively for disabled youth ages 16-25
When: Wednesdays, from 6-9pm, starting June 12, ending the week of September 18th with a final performance that is TBD
Where: Jumblies Theatre, 132 Fort York Blvd., Toronto
Project Disruption is a 12-week movement based performance program for disabled youth (with any disability) ages 16-25. The program starts June 12th and runs Wednesday nights from 6-9 pm. The program will take place at Jumblies Theatre, located at 132 Fort York Blvd.
No previous dance or movement experience is necessary! We are going to start off slow and explore what movement and dance looks like in our bodies. We believe in making dance accessible to everyone, and there is no minimum level of functioning or physical activity required to participate.
Location is wheelchair accessible with a door opener, and features one gender neutral accessible washroom. The closest accessible major transportation route is the 511 Bathurst replacement busses stopping at Fort York Blvd and Bathurst Street.
Honoraria provided for all involved for the final performance. The final performance will take place the week of September 18th, at Artscape Weston Commons. We will decide on the date for the final performance together!
Snacks according to dietary restrictions and financial support for transportation will be provided at all meetings
ASL, personal support workers, and sighted guide support will be provided. Additional accommodation specifics will be clarified with participants during the registration process.
This program is particularly geared towards disabled youth who experience multiple marginalizations. Priority in registration is given to those who are aged 16-25 (though registrations are accepted for young people up to age 30), and to those who identify with one or more marginalization in addition to being disabled.
Image Description: A photo of Shay and Jen and Jen’s wheelchair in a tree against a background of Lake Merritt in Oakland California. A building is to the left of them flying an American flag in the background. Shay is sitting on a lower branch of the tree and holding Jen’s wheelchair in place which is balanced between the two main branches of the tree. Shay is looking up at Jen and grinning widely. Jen is standing on a higher branch of the tree and her body extends to the tallest point of the tree. She looks down at Shay smiling broadly too.
Project Disruption has a few goals. The first is to create a disability-positive space where disabled people can explore what movement looks like in their own bodies. Too often disabled people are asked to ignore aspects of their bodily experience (such as pain, discomfort, or unease about an activity) for the comfort of non-disabled people. We want this to be a space that interrupts this pattern, and gives disabled people the chance to explore how their bodies move in ways that feel good for them. We also want to make sure that in doing this we make space for everyone to bring their whole identity to the room, so that if you have multiple identities (i.e. disabled and queer, disabled and trans, disabled and IBPOC) you don’t have to leave one or more behind at the door to be fully included in our space. The second goal of the program is to create short individual or group dance pieces that represent the kinds of movement that we will explore as a group. There is no pressure to be a professional level dancer for this performance, just the opportunity to share something about your body or your experience of moving in the world with an audience. As a group, we will work together to figure out how to translate the movements we will be experimenting with into something that we can perform. The performances can also be interdisciplinary and incorporate texts, storytelling, and we might be able to use video as well.
Each week will follow a similar format. We will all arrive, have a snack and check in with each other about how we are doing, and share any updates we need to know to prepare for the final performance. We will then warm up together and work with our guest instructors, who will be helping us explore movement and develop our pieces. We will have some time to explore movement and experiment on our own, and then we will come back for a closing circle and check out. There will be a minimum of two breaks during the program. We expect to dance for about 90 minutes of the three hours each week.
Shay Erlich (They/Them)
Shay is a wheelchair dancer and child and youth care practitioner with a masters in Child and Youth Care. Shay is also queer, genderqueer, hard of hearing and multiply disabled. Shay co-founded the Cyborg Circus Project with Jen in 2018 because they believed in the importance of disabled people having their own places to explore the arts in environments that support them. Jen and Shay have been working together as community arts facilitators and performers since late 2017. Their goal is to create spaces where disabled people can be empowered to love their bodies and minds in a world that doesn’t always let disabled people do that.
Jen Roy (She/They)
Jen is a wheelchair dancer and has their bachelors in social work. Jen is queer, and has multiple disabilities that impact how they move, think, feel, and interact with the world. Jen’s hope for the Cyborg Circus Project and this project specifically is to create a space where disabled young people can bring their whole selves to the project and their artistic explorations and feel support for all parts of their identities. Jen is very excited to see how participants will bring themselves to the program, and the possibilities that will emerge when we are all creating together.
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