Undressing the (w)rapper: disability dance


  • Gerard Samuel UCT School of Dance


The artistic expressions of dancers with physical and mental handicaps/ impairments/disabilities is for many audiences an indulgent, simple past time. Why do we relegate some dancers to the margins of dance performance? How is this played out in relation to rurality and shifting notions of urban culture for the person with a disability? Cultural theorists – Richard Schechner and Rustom Bharucha works are drawn to suggest a frame for the re-contextualisation of disability dance within notions of popular dance and the mass and high cultural space. This paper explores the difficult terrain of who can and should not dance by accessing Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. It will raise many questions around the context that is disability arts chiefly in South Africa to suggest a unique position for contemporary dance by people with disabilities that profoundly rocks notions of perfection, dancing and black bodies in dance.