One Minute World Arts- Wired: Wheelchair Aerial Dance with Barbed Wire

Wired: Wheelchair Aerial Dance with Barbed Wire

Established in 2016, the ensemble Kinetic Light has devoted itself to the making and exploration of disability arts; they often present their creative ideas through dance. #Wired, their latest piece combining wheelchairs, barbed wire, technology, and aerial dance, premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in early May 2022, after going through a 2-year preparatory period. It aimed to investigate and display the relationships between gender, race, and the disabled. In the performance, the physically challenged dancers would sit on the wheelchairs and try to control the cables with a joystick, so that they could ascend and descend at their will, defying both gravity and assumptions about what dance can be for them. By so doing they successfully brought an experience interweaving power and beauty to the audience.

According to Alice Sheppard, founder of Kinetic Light and also the choreographer of Wired, experiences and documents about aerial dance are easily available to non-disabled artists, as there is a history and tradition here; however, for disabled artists, related problems and difficulties can only be dealt with one by one, since there is not much for them to learn from or refer to. In other words, before entering the stage of  choreographing, the team would need to solve the problem of making the disabled artists “fly” first. In the end, they came up with specially designed performance chairs that were both light and strong enough to be suspended in the air by cables, so that the physically challenged performers could sit on them and do their aerial dance safely. Eventually, with emotional layers enriched by original score and innovative lighting, the show managed to deliver the beauty and fragility of human connections through creative energy, technological innovations, and a medium full of symbolic meanings – barbed wire.



成軍於2016年的藝術創作團體「活力之光」(Kinetic Light),致力探究各種#障礙藝術(disability arts)的可能性,並透過舞蹈形式來呈現他們的理念。該團籌備兩年的新作《#線・索》(Wired),今年五月初在芝加哥當代藝術館(Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago)首演,是一場結合輪椅、#帶刺鐵線(barbed wire)、科技、舞蹈,以及空中飛行的表演,意在探討性別、種族與行動不便者之間的關係。在這部作品裡,舞者們乘坐輪椅,透過搖桿控制鋼索自由升降,打破重力的定律,同時也顛覆大眾對於行動不便者的特定印象,成功帶給觀眾力與美交織的體驗。

「活力之光」創辦人、同時也是《線・索》的編舞家艾麗絲・雪珀(Alice Sheppard)表示:「對一般表演者來說,在空中舞蹈並不是什麼前所未見的創舉;但對我們這些身體比較不方便的創作者而言,整個過程就需要一點一滴去鑽研、發掘和累積。」換言之,在真正進入編舞階段前,團隊必須先想方設法,解決如何讓行動不便的表演者可以「飛起來」之難題。經過精算,團隊採用低空吊掛的技術,讓金屬拉索與特製輪椅能夠彼此懸撐,並藉由原創音樂和燈光設計,來凸顯帶刺鐵線這種美感獨具卻又尖銳危險的質材,傳達人與人連結時的美麗與哀愁。


Photo Credit: Robbie Sweeny/Kinetic LightChris Sweda/Chicago Tribune