*Please note that this article contains strong language.
1. Describe yourself in three words…
Resilient, changemaker, empathic
2. What is your daily routine at the moment?
My alarm goes off at 7am, I make a coffee and sit on the sofa to watch the birds through our lounge room window. From 8am to 9am, I join a wonderful group of humans on Zoom for mindful stretching (or yoga for those of you who culturally appropriate). Some days I stay online to hang out and chat over a cuppa, other days I have to get to and prepare for the work day ahead. On busier days, this involves between two to three Zoom meetings as I continue the development of our next performance work ‘The Dan Daw Show’. My evenings usually involve eating supper on the sofa with my people while watching competition shows.
3. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
My trauma and the work I’m constantly doing to free myself from it. Audience’s love that stuff. There’s plenty to excavate, so will keep me going for a while.
4. What is the biggest challenge that lockdown has had on your practice?
Things have calmed down now, but in the beginning I was really feeling the pressure to make work in lockdown. The biggest challenge for me is seeing how everything is starting to return to the way it was instead of using this reemergence to make the systemic change we said we were going to in May. My practice is impacted greatly by this, because I feel the weight of having to always advocate for change. It’s exhausting, because I’m having the same conversations with non-disabled people I was having when my career started eighteen years ago.
5. How are you staying connected to other artists and audiences?
Audiences not so much, because my practice relies on its liveness, but I’ve been having great conversations over these lockdown months with other Crip artists. This has been good for the soul.
6. Who has most inspired you as an artist?
Other Crip artists. It wasn’t until I saw work by disabled people that I began to take my career more seriously.
7. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
“There’s no such thing as a dance emergency” – Michelle Silby
8. Who would you most like to work with post-pandemic?
I’m really interested in how I can work with the sector (we need a better word) to develop management systems that put people before profit. For me it hinges on centring access and centring care for each other in everything we do.
9. A phrase I use far too often is ...
10. What is one thing you will take away from the experience of lockdown?
Fearlessness and a healthy dose of “fuck you”. Not leaving my neighbourhood for months has made me realise how much armour I put on when I go out into the world and how apologetic my body became when I was in inaccessible environments. The days of my apologising for my Crip body not fitting into non-disabled expectation are gone. Long gone.