ZCO/Dance Project premieres “Progression” and dancing beyond disability
by Cheryl Green, whoamitostopit.com
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Back in 2013, you got to meet longtime dancer, actress, model, and disability activist Zazel-Chavah O’Garra when she shared a guest blog about her experience becoming disabled from a brain tumor. That same year, Zazel founded ZCO/Dance Project. Her brain tumor was 13 years ago, and it came when she was in the middle of an already very active, esteemed career. Since joining the disability community and the very vibrant disability arts community, Zazel has made it her mission to encourage, create, and perform original dance works of artistic distinction to promote the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities in society. It’s not special art.
ZCO/Dance Project is about to premiere a work called “Progression” in New York City. “Progression” uses contemporary dance to open us to a new way of viewing disabled people that’s both inspiring and enlightening. It will present audiences with a radical new perspective that shows what it truly means to dance beyond disability. It’s not about overcoming your disability to win the praise of non-disabled society. It’s about honoring and working with people with disabilities and blending dance, contact improvisation, and musical theater to showcase the gorgeousness of all bodies and all the many movements we make.
I love the idea of a progression of all types. For a while after my brain injury, people were always asking me how I was progressing. Was I improving? Getting better? Able to read a calendar yet? Not getting lost anymore? They had their ideas of what my progress would look like. Sometimes that matched with my idea. But often, other people’s idea of my progress didn’t match my idea of my own progress. The disabled dancers’ progress is not measured by how much they can move like non-disabled people. The progress is that there’s another beautiful, professional dance company integrating disabled people with a range of ages, genders, disability types, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
[Image description courtesy of ZCO/Dance Project: Event flyer featuring, clockwise from top, color-shaded photos of ZCO dancers Jessica in purple, Krishna and Peter in yellow, Michelle in orange and Amy in green. Center image of Leslie in red with the word Progression across the middle. Event info below the pictures.]
ZCO/DANCEPROJECT presents “Progression”
Friday, March 18 at 8:00 PM (7:30 Doors)
Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025
Tickets are $20.00
Purchase online at www.symphonyspace.orgor by calling (212) 864-5400
Stay up to date and get lots of pictures on their Facebook page: facebook.com/ZCODanceProject
New Yorkers, please go to this performance and tell me how wonderful it was!