With the Paralympics Opening Ceremony I've found myself getting interested again in disability arts again. I had a friend back in Brisbane who was in a chair and performed contemporary dance and I saw a few of her performances many years ago, but haven't really seen anything specifically promoted as being performed by people with different levels of ability. I was standing on the platform at Wood Lane the other day and saw a sign for the Liberty Showcase on the Southbank this weekend and thought that'd be interesting to go to. So that's where finglish and I headed for a bit yesterday, after a wander through Borough Market and along the Thames.
This is the tenth year of the Liberty festival, which makes me a bit sad I'd not seen any mention of it before. I guess sadly this sort of thing goes under the radar when there's not something like the Paralympics to shine a big light on it. I'm definitely bookmarking it for next year. The first two acts we saw were definitely aimed at young children. The first was Sputnik by Fittings Multimedia Arts and involved a woman winding herself around and through some sort of machine, parts of it operated by a gentleman dressed as a circus master. All the kids around us were fascinated but I am I wasn't quite their target audience.
The second peformance was by the StopGAP Dance Company, an integrated dance troup. Before they started we watched the stage area being mopped down. I wondered if it was just to make sure there wasn't anything dangerous such as bits of glass but it turns they were swabbing the area down with cola to make the surface less slippery. I am considering doing that for anywhere I need to walk from now on. Life will be so much less trippy. StopGAP were also brilliant, again aimed at a much younger audience, but that's definitely not a bad thing.
At this point J and I thought of leaving but intertia kind of beat us and I am glad it did because we saw Bill Shannon, who was just brilliant. He is a Brooklyn-born-and-based breakdancer/skateboarder/artist/dude who uses crutches to get about. But they aren't any crutches, they are special dancin' crutches. He also uses a skateboard to get around a bit quicker, and has incorporated his skateboarding moves and his crutches into an utterly brilliant breakdancing/skating combo - I am not sure there is a word for what he does! I filmed a bit of it, but it's nothing like what he was like in real life. He drew a massive and enthusiastic crowd and I'd love to see him perform again sometime.
Then it was back off to Borough for a hot salt beef roll with delicious gherkins omnonnom and then homeward bound for an evening on the sofa watching bad telly and bidding on shoes on eBay.