Scenes and Encounters, Bodies and Abilities: Devising Performance with Cyrff Ystwyth

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This writing discusses the work of Welsh based dance-theatre company Cyrff Ystwyth. Persistent hegemonic positioning of art activity as a way of supporting particular groups and individuals understood as suitable beneficiaries in the UK is critiqued in the context of the company’s work. In particular, the work of one of the choreographers who is a person with a learning disability is discussed in depth. Situating the company in its cultural context in rural Wales this paradigm of beneficiary of the arts and the instrumentalist view of artistic practice is considered. Examples of the working relationship between the author and the choreographer are offered via notes made by the author from her experience of both directing and researching the practice of Cyrff Ystwyth and the work of choreographer Adrian Jones. A glimpse into a working practice, an occupation that exists in both the emotional realm and is practiced in a real world context by the making of dance theatre, is offered as a counterpoint to the prevailing hegemony of the person with learning disabilities as recipient of art rather than being the artist who offers their work to those who will engage with it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOccupying Disability: Critical Approaches to Community, Justice, and Decolonizing Disability
EditorsPamela Block, Devwa Kasnitz, Akemi Nishida, Nick Pollard
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-9984-3
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-9983-6, 9401799830
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Learning disability
  • Wales
  • Rural
  • Dance-theatre
  • Creative collaboration
  • Cyrff Ystwyth
  • Performance
  • disability


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