Friday, May 4, 2012


    “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN’T DANCE,” a participatory movement workshop that is the third event in the EMBRACE THE SPACE program series at St.Martin’s Episcopal Church, will be presented on Sunday, April 29, 2012 from 1:30-4:00pm at 5700 W. Midway Park.
    Founded by Alana Hodges Smith, Dance>Detour, Chicago’s first physically integrated dance company has a philosophy that says “Everyone Can Dance”, and that there is quality in all types of movement – far beyond the typical perspectives and stereotypes that say a dancer must be someone of a particular age, with a certain body type, or uniform style of movement.
    Alana Hodges Smith, founder and artistic director of Dance>Detour, is a disability advocate, vocalist, actor, writer and dancer who promotes the inclusion of artists with disabilities in variety of creative genres. Alana’s motivation for starting Dance>Detour was to develop and encourage artistic collaborations between artists with and without disabilities who could work together to explore dance movement as equals. She strives to expand the concept of what dance IS and WHO can be involved. Alana, who contracted polio at the age of five, has always believed she was born to perform.  She has found that her wheelchair is a beautiful accessory that affords her a unique opportunity to embrace and express dance. Along with Michelle Obama, she received one of ten Phenomenal Woman Awards at The Black Women’s Expo Gala on July 31, 2008.  She is also featured in the newly unveiled edition Of “Who’s Who In Black Chicago,” as an accomplished community leader. 
    A graduate of Columbia College with a BFA in Theater/Music, Ms. Smith has served as Founder and Artistic Director of Dance>Detour since 1995. She received the 2007 “Outstanding Leadership for an Accessible Society” Award from Community Service Options, Inc. and was named one of the “100 Women Making a Difference” in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine in 1997. In 1998, she was featured in the Emmy Award-Winning PBS television documentary “Dance From the Heart” hosted by Ben Vereen.  Proudly, Alana was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Illinois 2007 and continued on to be crowned Ms. Wheelchair America 2008 – the first African American woman to hold title in the 35-year history of the pageant. 
    In this workshop Alana will introduce movement possibilities that can be shared and enjoyed by folks of all ages with varying degrees of physical abilities. Her varied repertoire embraces many forms of dance from classical - to jazz - to modern - to African that appeal to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.  We invite you to come explore dance with us at this participatory workshop, and GET READY TO MOVE!!!!
    The Embrace the Space series is sponsored by Bodies of Work, a network for Disability Art and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and St.Martin’s Episcopal Church with funding from The Chicago Community Trust. All are welcomed. Admission is FREE. Reservations Recommended! Snacks & Refreshments Served. Programs are wheelchair accessible, audio described, and American Sign Language interpreted. To RSVP, or request information or disability accommodations, please email or call 312 996-1967.

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