Photo exhibit springs to life
ALSTONVILLE dance group SPRUNG!! is holding a unique photographic exhibition of a recent workshop for dancers with disabilities.
In September, Alstonville Dance Studio's Susie Whiteman organised the inaugural Integrated Dance Theatre Holiday Workshop with Julie Barratt and Sarah-Vyne Vassallo, of Accessible Arts NSW, and the Don't DIS my ABILITY campaign.
Photographed by Katrina Folkwell, with select photos by Sarah Kearney - a young photographer with a disability - the exhibition opened this week at the Ballina Northern Rivers Community Gallery and runs until April 28.
Katrina says photographing the children was a labour of love.
"I've come from a background of photographing birth and pregnancy," she said, "so I guess I had a history of being a sensitive photographer.
"I've known Susie (Whiteman) for over 20 years, and then I was in a car accident and had a disability of chronic pain. So I found myself in a position of actually having a disability, and then this work just evolved.
"I had three or four sessions with the kids, over three or four days.
"Some of the photographs just capture the joy of the kids, particularly the kids with disabilities; capturing their faces and expressions. Capturing the children without disabilities interacting with the kids with disabilities, and how well they interacted.."
Susie Whiteman, who has been teaching people with a disability for about 25 years, said the SPRUNG!! project came together in collaboration with the parent of one of her dancers, pediatrician Robyn Brady.
"It became a little dream of ours that one day we would get dancers with a disability together at the studio and hold a workshop that was aimed towards people with a disability," she said.
"So that's where it started.
"I made calls to all the people that I'd been teaching, and contacts that I'd met, and then we had a week-long workshop integrated with other dancers from the studio.
"It really was such a great success."
Susie said the concept was going from strength to strength.
Accessible Arts NSW will collaborate with Lismore disability support service Red Inc, thanks to $37,400 of funding from the NSW Arts and Disability Partnership from the State Government.
The funding will make possible a new series of workshops, held in conjunction with Red Inc, which begin on April 22 at Alstonville Dance Studio, geared towards a triple bill performance, industry panel and art exhibition to be held at the Byron Community Centre in September.
Dancers with and without disabilities are welcome to express an interest in participating in the project.