Stepping back: Reflecting on accessibility in integrated dance improvisation


  • Kelsie Acton Inclusive Practice Manager at Battersea Arts Centre



disability dance; memory; improvisation; access; reflexivity


Finding more accessible ways to train, create, perform and work is a major concern of researchers and practitioners (Ajula & Redding, 2013, 2014) of integrated and disability dance. In the spring of 2017 eight dancer/researchers from CRIPSiE, an integrated, disability and crip dance company located in Edmonton, came together to investigate their practices of timing through a participatory performance creation process. Participatory performance creation values researcher reflexivity (Heron & Reason, 1997). In this paper I reflect on the way that collaboratively building an improvisation score, a series of tasks and prompts that the dancer/researchers responded to (Gere, 2003), created inaccessibility for one of the dancers/researchers, Robert. At the time I assumed that improvisation itself was inaccessible. Upon reflecting I realized that the improvisation was accessible and that Robert was improvising in ways valued by both the integrated improvisation literature and the other dancers/researchers.

Author Biography

Kelsie Acton, Inclusive Practice Manager at Battersea Arts Centre

Kelsie Acton is a neurodivergent researcher, access consultant, choreographer and dancer. Her PhD research into the accessibility of timing in disability dance rehearsal was funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her research has been published in CTR: Canadian Theatre Review, The Engaged Scholar and Theatre Research in Canada. She is a member of the Critical Design Lab, a multi-national, multi-institutional collective focused on critical access, disability and design. She is currently the Inclusive Practice Manager at Battersea Arts Centre, the world's first Relaxed Venue, and she consults with cultural organizations in the UK, US and Canada. She recently completed a residency at Siobhan Davies Dance.



How to Cite

Acton, K. (2021). Stepping back: Reflecting on accessibility in integrated dance improvisation. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 10(2), 68–92.