Joint Forces

What People Are Saying

DanceAbility has won international acclaim both for its artistic contributions to the evolution of contemporary dance and its unique ability to change attitudes about disability. Here is what people are saying:

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“Alito Alessi is a pioneer in the field of dance and disability and has a wealth of experience in this area. His intensive workshops were a revelation to all participants in their own respective ways. Alito proved that through the DanceAbility approach the lives of individuals with a disability can be greatly improved and thus contribute towards their integration...his work has already made a difference among mixed ability groups in various countries.” ~United States Embassy Post, Holland

“One of the useful elements of an encounter with a new idea is what perspective does it provide? For those of us with no practical information about people with disabilities, the perspective from DanceAbility is radical. It causes us to re-examine the disabled people. This is no small matter because without experience we are a mass of prejudices and ignorance.” ~Steve Paxton, Founder of Contact Improvisation

“I believe that DanceAbility goes beyond movement exploration and is, for many people their first opportunity to define themselves in their own terms and see that this dance form, like their lives, has many options and possibilities.” ~Susan Sygall, Executive Director, Mobility International U.S.A.

“We came with our sneakers, our canes, our wheelchairs, our two left feet, our bodies we see as too short, too fat, too something-and we danced. By God every sub-atomic particle of us danced in ways we could not have believed.” ~Bjo Ashwill, Dancer with a Disability

“I often saw especially people with disabilities changing parts of their self–concept, suddenly feeling proud of their ablilities, enjoying their bodies. When they experienced a wider range of choice–making while dancing, they often became more assertive about their independence in other parts of their life.” ~Beate Schmitt, Certified DanceAbility Teacher

“During the workshop we formed a truly diverse learning community dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of movement.” ~Nancy Meltzoff, Ph.D., Teacher Training participant

“Their work reveals the paralyzed attitudes of able bodied people toward people with disabilities.” ~Australian Reviewer

“Participating in DanceAbility made me feel that I was connecting with other people. I learned that people with disabilities can do the same things I can do. They just do it in different ways. I am a Muslim girl and I know what it is like to be different. People have made fun of the scarf I wear. In DanceAbility, we can move together whether we are different or the same! We can be one community.” ~Fathia Sheikh, Dancer and Volunteer, Portland Oregon

“I have never been around people with disabilities, so I was terrified to come here. I did not think I would be strong enough emotionally or physically to do this work. It is very sweet and empowering now to have come this far. I feel now more than ever that I have the strength and tools to be a teacher.” ~DanceAbility Teacher Certification Participant

“Thank you for the power, joy and vision you demonstrated with your DanceAbility work. I really enjoyed learning about what you do and the deep thought, experiential learning process and clarity of your articulation. The core value of eliminating isolation really resonated with me. Through the work you offered, my eyes and mind have been opened with more awareness about ways I can become more active in a group to ensure there is always a space in which everyone can participate.” ~Amber, Workshop Participant

“I want to thank you for being such a generous and talented teacher. I find your work very inspirational and I don’t think I would have followed this dance path if I hadn’t come down to Eugene! Our groups and classes draw on improvisation mostly and a lot of DanceAbility methodology. We cite your work often.” ~Shara Weaver, Teacher Certification Participant, Propellerdance, Canada

“Alito was an amazing, inspiring teacher.” ~Beth Baker, Certified DanceAbility Teacher

“As the information that we were in a safe touch, safe adventure environment dawned on us, the warmth grew. First came safety, then came warmth. Then came...well, what one goes dancing for. Meeting people, doing and seeing unusual things, finding physical challenge while laughing. Being moved.” ~Steve Paxton, Founder of Contact Improvisation

“Every–Body is challenged on his or her own level of experience and is treated equally. In that way a big or small movement is relative to the person, and everybody can translate a movement of another body into his or her own cells. And the more varied the bodies and experiences the more exciting and rich the kinds of possibilities. With that understanding a wheelchair is no longer a symbol of being disabled; instead it widens the movement possibilities and adds new chapters in the language of dance: a woman choreographing with her eyes, a man dancing with his walking sticks, etc. ” ~Beate Schmitt, Certified DanceAbility Teacher

“It was difficult not to be a little teary inside. We had spent three days together and a warm bond had grown. Everyone had had fun, been treated with dignity; so we respected each other and felt an intense vicarious pleasure in each other’s smiles and laughter. ” ~Steve Paxton, Founder of Contact Improvisation

“I would normally think that able–bodied people wouldn’t accept me and my physical limitations, my physical condition. So something like this, dancing in a workshop, certainly boosts my confidence in just being myself. ” ~Disabled Workshop Participant

“What was shown here was possible for everybody, and once you open a possibility for human beings, to do whatever it is, then they’ll look for that opportunity to participate in the process, whether it’s this dancing, or overall moving in space and becoming more aware of themselves in whatever space they’re in.” ~Disabled Workshop Participant

“Thank you so much for coming to our school. Emery, I appreciated you taking the time to talk to one of my students. It is so great for my students to have and see positive role models. Thank you for showing them that they can focus on their amazing abilities.” ~Teacher who experienced the DanceAbility Youth Outreach Program

“I liked the nonjudgmental qualities of the workshop. The experience allowed me the opportunity to test my edges of self perception regarding my own skills and limits in a safe environment which I attribute to the teachers.” ~DanceAbility Workshop Participant

“I appreciated the rigorous experiential learning of the exercises that make up the method and AlitoNrsquo;s expert teaching of the method.” ~DanceAbility Teacher Certification Participant

DanceAbility International
Joint Forces Dance Co.
576 Olive St. Suite 208
Eugene, OR 97401