Friday, May 18, 2012


Eighty people between the ages of 4 and 85 attended St. Martin’s Embrace the Space program on Sunday, April 29, which featured the mixed-abilities dance company, Dance>Detour in the performance and movement workshop So You Think You Can’t Dance. Mixed-abilities dance companies combine the talents of dancers with and without disabilities to create unique dance forms and new ways of moving. The workshop attracted people from the Austin area, as well as from other neighborhoods in and around Chicago. 
    Dance>Detour demonstrated its belief that there is quality in all types of movement, and anyone can dance regardless of age or physical ability. The dancers got audience members up and moving. Everyone, including those who used walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and leg braces, and those with visual disabilities participated in the fun. Participants watched exciting Dance>Detour performances, participated in warm-up exercises, and created and performed routines of their own.
“This was one of the best workshops we have had the honor to present! The staff and audience were amazing! Thank you for including Dance>Detour in this series!” Alana Hodges Wallace, founder and artistic director said.

“I felt humbled by the gratitude we felt as performers. In fact, I felt the line was wonderfully blurred between audience and the company – we all felt like one on Sunday.”  Melissa L. Sallée, dancer

“Sunday’s So you think you can’t dance program was phenomenal! I nearly wept from pleasure at the performance. And the interaction with the audience was so much fun,”  added Ellen Janiec, audience member.

    The dance workshop was the third in a series of events co-hosted by St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and Bodies of Work (BOW) with funding from The Chicago Community Trust’s Artistic and Cultural Diversity Initiative. Bodies of Work, a network for disability arts and culture, is housed in the Department of  Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The Initiative was created by the Trust to showcase the talents of diverse and culturally specific artists in venues located in areas of Cook County not traditionally served by arts and cultural programming. Bodies of Work hopes to build on its collaboration with St. Martin’s to maintain a presence in the Austin community and create meaningful programs to present in the neighborhood.
    The series closes on Sunday, May 20 with Carrie Sandahl presenting Images of Disability in Films for Kids, a screening of film clips and an interactive guided discussion with the audience of how Hollywood portrays people with disability in children’s films. Admission is FREE.  The event is wheelchair accessible, sign language interpreted and audio described, and all are welcomed.

    For Embrace the Space program information, disability accommodations or to RSVP, phone 312/996-1967, or email For Information about St. Martin’s Episcopal Church contact Rev. Christopher E. Griffin, Vicar, at 773/378-8111 or visit

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