Dance and Disability

Boston Dance Alliance is committed to supporting dancers and dancemakers with disabilities and those who want to work with them.




*Boston Dance Alliance does not typically post information about activities outside New England, but these rare trainings were important to share. Both of these events have application deadlines in January, 2020 so apply now.

  • AXIS Dance Company is looking for disabled choreographers from across the United States to apply for their Choreo-Lab program, which will take place in Oakland, CA from June 3-12, 2020. Selected choreographers will receive a $1,000 stipend for their participation.  All out of state participants will also receive a $500 travel stipend to help cover any travel expenses to and from the Lab. Housing will also be provided and arranged directly by AXIS for those who need it. Apply by January 15, 2020 at
  • During the week of June 21 – 28, 2020 UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and Disability Studies will again be hosting the Dancing Disability Lab, an intensive for experienced and emerging disabled dance artists engaged in creating new work that challenges “ability paradigms”.  An informal public event will take place on Saturday, June 27th. This unique laboratory offers immersive engagement in disability studies scholarship alongside movement exploration and choreographic inquiry. Participants will engage one another through movement study and improvisation sessions designed to expand and deepen action languages while considering how we represent, look at, transform and challenge ideas about the body, and personhood. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Alice Sheppard will again be leading the Lab with Victoria Marks as we spend time throughout the week exploring the history and social discourses surrounding disability justice, aesthetics and culture; improvising; discovering physical opportunities; creating and sharing new work. We are excited to share that we intend to support dancer/choreographer participant’s travel and accommodation costs, and as well, offer an honorarium.  Applications due January 17, 2020



The spring 2020 visiting artist season has been curated to feature artists working at the intersection of dance and disability in honor of the 30th anniversary of the ADA. More details on each artists’ visit and the cross-campus partnerships to come soon!

Kerry Thompson Ed.M. ‘08
Open event: Salsa-ASL Workshop
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 4, 7-9pm
Location: Harvard Dance Center, 66 Garden St.

AXIS Dance Company
Open event: Master Class
Date/Time: Tuesday, March 24, 7-9pm
Location: Harvard Dance Center, 66 Garden St.

Alice Sheppard
Open event: TBA
Date/Time: Week of April 7 (TBA)
Location: Harvard Dance Center, 66 Garden St.

The Harvard Dance Center Visiting Artist Series is supported by The Office for the Arts (OFA).

Persons with disabilities are encouraged to participate in all Harvard Dance Center programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact the Dance Office at 617-495-8683 in advance of your participation or visit. The Harvard Dance Center is accessible for individuals using wheelchairs. 


Following Wheels UP!, BDA’s inaugural June, 2016 convening on physically integrated dance, we have continued to expand our network of dancers, choreographers, dance educators, medical and rehabilitation professionals, and advocates.

Our shared commitment is to create an environment that encourages dancers of all types of ability to participate in the art we love.

 Boston Dance Alliance is proud to be listed as a resource for disabled dancers with INDEX at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

FREE dance classes for people with Parkinsons are open now at Urbanity, 1180 Washington Street, Boston in the South End.

Giving a special performance for audiences with sensory sensitivities? Share the information on the BDA website here  and also send the information to our friends at the The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE so that they can share this information with potential audience members!



The Ford Foundation  explains why disability rights are part of the social justice equation.

Report on dance and disability in New York from Dance/NYC

Ailey dancer Samantha Figgins on her disability

Ellice Patterson of Abilities Dance was profiled in Brookline Wicked Local

Cool ABC news video article about our friend Kerry Thompson and her work with expanding social dance for deafblind dancers

We were proud to support the 2017 AXIS Dance Company Residency at Boston University  and The Dance Complex.

Read the 2017 National Endowment for the Arts report on career opportunities for artists with disabilities.

Howlround article on Accommodations for Professional Performers with Disabilities

Dance Unstuck, a great resource from our friends in the UK supports inclusive dance teaching with guidance and filmed resources, primarily about how teachers can include disabled children in their ballet classes.

Other resources on inclusion of persons with disabilities in the arts are here; contact us for a full bibliography!


Throughout the year, BDA connects dancers and choreographers with disabilities and those who want to work with them with the information and resources to make their creative work possible.


 Whether it is finding a consultant for a teacher who wants to include a student with a disability in dance activity,


teacher Kerry Glennon dances with her students


matching a ballroom dance teacher with a frail senior citizen

Ballroom dance instructor Paul Hughes works with a student


or making wheelchair-accessible rehearsal space at Lyric Stage Studio available to a  mixed-abilities dance company  


Ellice Patterson, artistic director of Abilities Dance


Boston Dance Alliance is here to help. Let us break down barriers to inclusion together.


“Through their  referral service for dancers with disabilities, the Boston Dance Alliance strives to break down barriers to inclusion. I was thrilled to see their action become a reality when I received an interview for and then earned the position to teach a 5-week accessible youth flamenco class at the Cotting School in Lexington. This is a chance of a lifetime, affording me the opportunity to share my love of flamenco with this inclusive community. Thank you BDA for increasing cultural equity and access to dance for diverse communities!

~Eve Costarelli, owner and founder, Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts: Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body


 Please help us build our free referral service for dancers with disabilities by filling out the survey below:

For referral services or to learn more, contact Debra Cash, Executive Director, at

Support BDA’s work to encourage dancers of all abilities and our advocacy for dance across Boston by making your generous contribution now