Dance, disability and prosthetics: aesthetics of representation and new artistic expressions

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Innovations in technology have improved life experiences for people with disabilities by focusing on enhancing function, engagement, and access, often within a medical, therapeutic or rehabilitation paradigm. What has been less in view is how technologies have impacted on the practice of disabled dance artists within art making. Disabled dancers have integrated technologies in their practice, expanding the body/machine relationship and questioning normative ideas of embodiment. Innovative design within prosthetics can further expand the choreographic and performance possibilities for disabled dance artists but can also be constrained by assumptions of what a body is. The article offers a close reading of Cuckoo (2020): a short screendance work inspired by a bespoke prosthetic leg created by Sophie de Oliveira Barata of The Alternative Limb Project. Cuckoo opens up questions of how a prosthesis might be read as an enhancement to the disabled body (functioning in the same way a costume might) or amplification of the body’s difference (by drawing particular attention to the non-human limb). The article considers the dancer/technology interface and how methods to support the interaction between disabled dancers and the design process may offer up a new prosthetic imaginary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalJournal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2024


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