East 15 Acting School, Loughton, UK
Bio: Katrina Carter obtained her PhD from Royal Holloway University London in 2015; her dissertation focused on investigating disability aesthetics and politics in inclusive aerial practice. She continues to research independently through her UNfrIQUE project, an undertaking which examines the stories of both forgotten historical disabled artists and contemporary disabled practitioners. She continues to choreograph and teach aerial in diverse settings including Airhedz.co.uk, East 15 Acting School and the Graeae Theatre Company in London.
Title: Rolling into Flight – Dis-ing Up Aerial!
Abstract: I thought I had failed when I told Georgia she could not be airborne. The remaining members of Graeae’s youth group, the Rollettes, had accessed the trapeze, aerial hoop or hammock, and disappointment was evident in Georgia’s response. The room emptied and I was left questioning how to make amends. Perhaps a simple grasp of the bar, rotating whilst seated in her wheelchair, guided by her personal assistant, would offer her something? Her grinning face and determined refusal to release the trapeze during the first performance suggested we had indeed found her moment of flight.
My presentation is offered from a practitioner’s perspective. I will share pedagogical and choreographic processes that continue to inform my Accessible Aerial practice, where the role of difference is one of exciting and creative potential rather than of restrictive limitation. Whilst acknowledging that disability has been a pervasive ‘narrative prosthesis’ in the development of fictional characters, particularly in film and literature (Mitchell & Snyder, 2001), I propose that the disabled aerialist offers an opportunity to reflect anew on aerial as a discipline and the way it is taught, directed and performed. The disabled aerialist provides us all with the opportunity to throw out the rule book and reimagine what aerial can be for everyone.