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Disability “On Display” at the UN: a dance project by Heidi Latsky

"DanceHabile" also organized a performance in Geneva

#HLDOnDisplay (Ph. Alessandra Baldini)

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NEW YORK, 5 DECEMBER 2015 – “I am fascinated by technical virtuosity, but I am just as compelled by someone taking a risk, showing his or her vulnerability, being in a raw state. Only then do I know they’re feeling something and there is a visceral exchange”. Heidi Latsky is the Founder and Artistic Director of the New York-based modern dance company named after her, the Heidi Latsky Dance – an arena where body types are just body types, and disability serves the creative process and artistic exploration.

Latsky, an acclaimed dancer and choreographer with a  training in psychology, a longtime principal member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, a partnership with Lawrence Goldhuber (an inspiring dancer who weights 300-350 pounds), has long embraced “performers with unique attributes” and used those individual peculiarities to engage the viewers in provocative journeys.

In 2006 she started working with bi-lateral amputee, Lisa Bufano, an experience that shaped her vision: “There has always been a common thread of working with unexpected bodies and social justice. My current body of work with disability and my mission to redefine virtuosity take this direction to another level. The work also embodies my belief system and has opened up a whole other world to me politically and artistically,” explained Latsky.

On December 3, on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disability, the HLD company brought her “On Display” show to the UN Headquarters. Revolving around the obsession for body image, it represented “a deconstructed art exhibit/fashion show”: to be “objectified” on stage, people with disability, models and performers, sometimes recipient of undesired stares and attention.

“Italy really places a very high premium on safeguarding and promoting the rights of people with disabilities, be them physical or mental, and in a holistic, multidimensional approach, including empowering their ambitions and career paths, rendering working environments more suitable to them, raising awareness”, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said at the opening ceremony of the International Day. The Ambassador also pointed out that in this goal “Italy feels privileged and responsible as is currently holding the position of Vice-Chair of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for 2015-16”.

In Geneva, Switzerland, the association “Dansehabile” which supports people with disabilities, organized a dance show at the Palais des Nations, in the framework of the initiative “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities”. Even if more needs to be done, the establishment of a UN Task Force on disability shows that progress has been achieved, stated Alberto Bertoni councellor of the Italian mission to the UN in Geneva. (@annaaserafini)

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