International VSA Festival 2010

I wish I had been able to attend more of these events featuring artists with disabilities, June 6-12,2010. My friend and I, along with my aunt, went to one event together the afternoon of June 7. We had a tough time deciding which one to go to. Performances and workshops included dance, media arts, education, literary arts, music, theater, and visual arts. I bookmarked a few of the singers–who are very good, from what I can tell on their websites. Many of these acts were Kennedy Center Millennium Stage performers. But there were performance venues all around town.

We finally decided on Locomotion–three integrated dance companies in performance at The Shakespeare Theatre’s Sidney Harman Hall. Some of the dancers had intellectual disabilities, while others did not. Some dancers used wheelchairs, and others were ambulatory. They were the Moving Company, Karen Peterson and Dancers, and The Dancing Wheels Company. My favorite performance was “Quo Vivaldi.” The dancers performed to “Spring” from The Four Seasons.

As with all modern dance, the messages weren’t completely clear right away. I took from it that even though I and others may have disabilities, we have many other things. In addition, we belong.

My friend went on a different day to see comedian Josh Blue, who has cerebral palsy. He was joined by Kathy Buckley, who is deaf. and another comedian.

I didn’t make it to another event, though. I would have liked “An Evening of International Classical Music” a lot. The musicians had various disabilities. Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Kriesler were all on the program. I really regret missing that one.

The disability art exhibit “Revealing Culture” is at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center through August 29. Maybe I can still make that one.

I wish that these events attracted more average, everyday folks who might not have cared about disability previously. Even more so, I wish that these events had not been listed primarily in the Health & Science section of the Washington Post, although I did see a listing in the Metro section on one day. All the events really belonged in Arts & Style. Having a disability does not automatically mean health issues!

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