Addressing Equity: Disability & Inclusion

Posted on 09/06/17

by Deborah Karp

In early August, I had the honor of presenting at the Kennedy Center-VSA Intersections conference in Austin, TX. My colleague, Nia Womack-Freeman, and I shared the successes, joys, challenges and discoveries of the first year of Luna’s Dance Inclusion Class pilot project. A school-wide initiative in partnership with Oakland Public School Grass Valley Elementary, Nia and I taught dance classes for children with and without disabilities across all grades in an effort to deepen a school culture of dance, empathy and community. At our conference presentation, participants from across the country danced full-out during an experiential lesson; smoothly turning and sliding in and out of the floor, sharply jumping and galloping toward and away from each other, creating short dance compositions and performing them for each other. After reflecting as a group, Nia and I gave a slide presentation addressing the history, details, and questions for further inquiry that arose from this project’s first year. We were met with a warm response; participants had questions and were hungry to find new ways to bring new inclusive dance to their students and communities. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with colleagues at a national level, gain new tools and insights, and be inspired by new practices and approaches in art-making and ability. Some further resources we offered during our slide presentation are below. If you have any questions or want to know more, please feel free to reach out at

- Pamela Wolfberg’s Integrated Playgroups®

- Axis Dance Company

- Universal Design for Learning: Why Does it Matter to Dance Teaching? By Patricia Reedy

- Making Dance Accessible to Students With Disabilities By Alisa Rasera

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