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'We're not an afterthought': Diverse performers showcase different abilities at Calgary circus show

A self-proclaimed disability theater company is about to premiere a circus production that will highlight the deaf, blind and various members of the disabled community. Inside Out Theater collaborated with artists and choreographers to present Oh Clare. Divergent Dances

Productions at the Eau Claire Market are designed to showcase the talents of people of all abilities and celebrate their differences.

Co-choreographer Erin Ball is a double leg amputee and a pioneer in the development of adaptive his circus art. Ball wants performers to feel welcome.

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"When I started the circus, I wasn't an amputee. I became a circus artist, both able-bodied and disabled performers." "I've noticed that there aren't a lot of representatives. There's a gap between knowing how to provide people and how to include them," Ball said.

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Most of her work centers around accessibility for artists and viewers.

"It's about exploring how the body interprets movement and themes, how it interacts with aerial devices, and what creation means to the body," says Ball. said. "Everyone has a very vast and unique lived experience. They contribute to the project. Everything changes and people offer themselves more and more."

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Ebony Gooden is a deaf artist and dancer. She said the show could reflect society.

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"I am deaf, but I feel at peace and I belong to this group. I was not a burden—I actually belong.

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Disabled at any moment, having an accident or losing sight as they age. Anything can happen.  We must be careful to cherish the gifts we have and be ready to react if we lose them.

Gooden said the show will incorporate sign language.

"This show is an exemplary model of what you can do in everyday life. If you have to sign solo, how do you make it accessible to unsigned viewers?" We did that by creating a written language that underpinned my work.”

As a wheelchair performer, Riki Entz said she was excited to learn circus techniques.

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"I have something called quadriplegia. It's not paralysis, I have muscle and sensory weakness in my extremities." Entz said. "At first, I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to get a firm grip on the ropes, but Erin's work with the people here empowered me." You are sexually fearless and always push your limits.

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Take a wheelchair dancer to a dance studio and they'll say: 'We have this wheelchair dance class' But it was a movement, not a dance. I didn't want to sit in a chair and wave my maracas.

"We have to be our own role models and try things that no one else has tried."

Another performer , Kathy M. Austin, says she hopes people will think about barriers for others while challenging their own comfort zones.

"From a blind standpoint, it's hard," Austin said. "I'm worried about bumping into other dancers or hitting them with my cane, and sometimes I don't understand what's going on. But listen and feel where the other dancers are."

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Austin said it was important to be recognized.

"Employing the blind is incredibly difficult and 90% are unemployed. As a blind performer, getting paid is very important," Austin said. I was. "We want to fight to get the spoken word in dance as well, because generally dancing is done in silence."

The show offers viewers a comprehensive experience. It was also intended. A sensory-friendly viewing area, ASL interpreter, and Touch for the Deaf Her tour precedes the performance. The show debuts at 2:00 pm on Saturday, with a second performance on Sunday at 2:00 pm. Admission is by donation.

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