Kinetic Light is an innovative, internationally-recognized disability arts ensemble. Working in the disciplines of art, technology, design, and dance, the company creates, performs, and teaches at the nexus of access, queerness, disability, dance, and race.
Founded by Bessie Award-winning choreographer Alice Sheppard, Kinetic Light is led by disabled artists and disabled artists create, design, and perform the work: thrilling award-winning worlds of movement, light, and sound.
Access is integral to the art and creative process. The company’s work speaks to and emerges from disability aesthetics and disability culture, and it is connected to the rich traditions and exciting contemporary conversations of disabled artists in all artistic fields. In Kinetic Light’s work, disability is a powerful, intersectional creative force.
(NTP Fee Support Available)
Running Time: 80 minutes, with 20 minute intermission Performers: Laurel Lawson, Alice Sheppard Choreographed in collaboration: Jerron Herman, Laurel Lawson, Alice Sheppard Lighting, Projection, Scenic & Production Design: Michael Maag Music: LeahAnn “Lafemmebear” Mitchell, Ailís Ní Ríain Scenic & Prop Design: Josephine Shokrian Access: ASL, audio description via Audimance app, expanded accessible seating, haptic experience, tactile exhibit, sensory kits, quiet space, audience welcome to exit and enter during performance
Wired is a passionate and potent aerial and contemporary dance experience that tells race, gender, and disability stories of barbed wire in the United States. The dancers of Kinetic Light trace the fine line between “us” and “them” as they explore the contradictions, dangers, and beauty of barbed wire.
Immense and intimate, Wired meditates in sound, light, and movement as it questions and ruminates on power, belonging, abolition and deinstitutionalization, sexuality, art, community, and connection—all through the powerful lens of disability as a creative and cultural force.
Wired was named among the “Best in Dance 2022” by the Chicago Tribune.
Run Time: 60 minutes, with 20 minute intermission Performers: Laurel Lawson, Alice Sheppard Choreography: Alice Sheppard, in collaboration with Laurel Lawson Scenographer: Michael Maag Music: Joan Jeanrenaud, Karen Tanaka, Cornelius Dufallo Access: ASL, rich spatial audio description via Audimance app, expanded accessible seating, haptic soundtrack interpretation, audience welcome to exit and enter during performance
Performed on a custom-designed architectural ramp installation with hills, curves, and peaks, DESCENT explores the pleasures of wheeled movement and reckless abandon. Combining dance, architecture, design, and technology, this evening-length work challenges cultural assumptions of what disability, dance, and beauty can be. Inspired by the sensual writings and art of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, DESCENT gives the mythological characters of Venus and Andromeda new life as interracial lovers.
Under Momentum (2018)
Run Time: 55 minutes Performers: Laurel Lawson, Alice Sheppard Choreography: Alice Sheppard, in collaboration with Laurel Lawson Lighting: Michael Maag Music: Joan Jeanrenaud, Michael Wall, Blue Dot Sessions Access: ASL, rich spatial audio description via Audimance app, expanded accessible seating, haptic soundtrack interpretation, audience welcome to exit and enter during performance
Under Momentum is a duet that celebrates the joys of continuous motion, the allure of speed, and the beautiful futility of resisting gravity. Laurel Lawson and Alice Sheppard of internationally-recognized disability arts ensemble Kinetic Light perform on a series of ramps designed by artist and design researcher Sara Hendren, creating a world of exhilaration, sensuality, and play.
Contact Pentacle for Details. Access coordination will be an integral piece of each of these offerings.
Dance Technique Classes
Introduction to Wheelchair Technique
Come learn the fundamentals that started it all.
Audience: Anyone wanting to learn how to dance in their wheelchair; no prior dance experience necessary. 20 students max. Format: 90-120 minutes. Requires sound system and wheelchair accessible studio with professional dance floor (wood or marley – ideally sprung). Outcomes: Experience foundational ideas about the relationship of body & chair as well as principles of wheeled movement: pushing, pulling, weight shifting, balancing, turning, & other techniques that support disabled dancers in their work.
Introduction to Technique
Want to dance? Come learn some of the fundamentals of disabled movement.
Audience: Disabled artists; no prior experience required. 20 students max. Format: 90-120 minutes. Requires sound system and wheelchair accessible studio with professional dance floor (wood or marley – ideally sprung). Outcomes: Participants gain experience with some basics of dance and the specifics of moving with their particular Bodyminds.
Integrated Dance Workshop Level 1
When disabled and non-disabled movers enter the space, what can we create together? This workshop invites you to explore your body in different ways in an integrated environment.
Audience: All are welcome; no prior movement experience needed. 20 students max. Format: 90-120 minutes. Requires sound system, wheelchair accessible studio, professional dance floor (wood or marley – ideally sprung). Outcomes: Learn the basics of integrated technique through deep investigation of our own moving bodies.
This repertory dance masterclass shares some of the lyrical floorwork and intricate, yet powerful, partnering work from DESCENT.
Audience: Experienced non-disabled & disabled dancers. 10-12 dancers max. Format: 90-120 minutes. Requires sound system, professional dance floor, + wheelchair accessible space. *class does not take place on ramp. Outcomes: Guided by Laurel Lawson & Alice Sheppard, discover how to embody these stunning lifts and balances in your own body.
Inside Disability Arts & Wired: For Artists and Cultural Workers
Get an insider’s view: Alice Sheppard opens up about Wired’s world by sharing bits of her research and choreographic processes, as well as secrets about the making of the work.
Audience: Disabled artists & arts cultural workers. 20-30 participants. Format: Seminar. Requires projector (in-person), ASL interpreter/CART, and describer. Outcomes: Learn the history of barbed wire and the disability and race stories intertwined with American barbed wire culture. Understand how these stories inform the making of Wired.
Inside Disability: for Artists and Cultural Workers
Discover intersectional disability history, aesthetics, and culture.
*Offered at all Kinetic Light performance venues
Audience: Open to all. 20-30 participants. Format: Seminar. Requires projector (in-person), ASL interpreter/CART, and describer. Outcomes: learn about current thought leaders and cutting-edge artists, develop an intersectional disability lens, and learn the differences between current best practices in the United States and United Kingdom.
Introduction to Product Design
Interested in innovative product design? Laurel Lawson, CTO & head of product design at CyCore Systems, brings a practical approach to software, hardware, and program design backed by real-world implementation.
Audience: Advanced undergraduate, graduate, professional, and professional UI, product, and access engineers. Customizable level. Format: Lecture + discussion. Outcomes: Using Kinetic Light’s Audimance as an example, this talk engages user-focused design processes, research, user interface design, and product architecture.
“Sheppard and Lawson are remarkably precise, electric performers.”
Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Dance Critic
“Kinetic Light, a disability arts ensemble whose work is made by and for disabled people, has an ethic and aesthetic of access that is exceptionally thoughtful and thorough.”
Brian Seibert, The New York Times
“Kinetic Light allows disability to transform everything about the working process and the product.”
Emily Watlington, Art in America
“This ensemble of disabled artists is on the rise”
Brian Seibert, The New Yorker
"DESCENT models a truth that is rarely understood among dance audiences: Disability does not signify incompleteness. In fact, it offers novel pathways to several movement styles, each of them whole and generative of unique choreographic forms.”