When members of iDance prepare to take the stage, their motives extend far beyond mere entertainment.
The iDance program, delivered by the University of Alberta’s Steadward Centre for Personal Physical Achievement, is aimed at increasing accessibility in dance for those with disabilities.
The group has recently been recognized for its achievements, receiving a Human Rights Award for Excellence.
The troupe, which officially formed over a year ago, works under the artistic direction of Lindsay Eales.
Its visually appealing dances incorporate and welcome people with all forms of disabilities. In fact, its eclectic mix of music and diversity is exactly what makes iDance beautiful to watch, not to mention the interesting use of wheelchair dance.
“The dancers in the group not only get physical activity — so flexibility, strength, range of motion, and a really good opportunity to get your heart rate up — but immense social support,” explained Eales.
And as founding member Roxanne Ulanicki explained, the importance of iDance lies not just in the fun and games — it is about integrating people with disabilities and fighting for the rights of this marginalized group.
“We know that we all have the right to our own life experience and the privilege to respect the life experience of others,” Ulanicki stated in the speech written for the awards ceremony.
“It would be wrong to create an illusion of human rights that only serves to marginalize us more by hiding our true challenges and needs.”