Artistry and disability

Panel discussion on artistry and disability

For the eighth time, the Festival van de Gelijkheid is taking place in Ghent. With a rich programme, the festival strives for three days of equality, diversity and connection. laGeste joins on board and organises a panel discussion around 'Artistry and disability'.

Inge Blockmans, disability researcher, moderates the conversation with dancers Michael Ghysels and Said Gharbi, actress Mira Bryssinck and writer Piet Devos.

17 December, 16.00 | AMSAB, Bagattenstraat 117 in Ghent

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Inge Blockmans is a researcher and dances while on wheels, on the ground and between people. Throughout her interdisciplinary work with a.o. life stories, auto/ethnography, and dance labs at Ghent University (Disability Studies and Studies in Performing Arts & Media), Inge Blockmans researches physicality in the nuance of people's (living) world. Her post-doctoral project is an in-depth exploration of the interaction between dance and the meaning and experience of bodies that are "different". As a dance and movement therapist by training, she further explores how, through movement, we can access what lives deep inside us, is hidden, wants to come out.

Mira Bryssinck is a Flemish actress and theatre maker. 
At the age of ten, she started performing at the KOPERGIETERY. In 2016, she completed her Drama studies at KASK. Physical and psychological vulnerability came together in the performance 'Utopia', which she made in collaboration with Villa Voortman. Still during her studies, she played the role of Tina Dibrani in the TV series 'Tytgat Chocolat', which appeared on Eén in autumn 2017. Through her contributions to the CRIP issue of Rekto:Verso and the State of the Youth (Theatre Festival 22), she shook up the theatre landscape around working with/for artists with disabilities.

Michael Ghysels (lindy hopper with wheels)
Ghysels made his presence felt last summer during Gentse Feesten when he appeared in a burlesque show by Zoe Bizoe. He was her partner for a steamy tango. Ghysels was a passionate Lindy hopper before a car accident landed him in a wheelchair with tetraplegia. During rehabilitation, he resolved to dance again. His show group, the Sherry Dots, choreographs so that Ghysels always has a specific role to play.

Said Gharbi is a dancer and choreographer with a visual impairment.
Saïd Gharbi was born in Tangier, Morocco, and moved to Belgium with his family in the late 1960s. He became blind at the age of 14, and met choreographer Wim Vandekeybus while studying at the Braille League. With no stage experience, he joined the dancers of Ultima Vez for his stage debut 'Her Body doesn't fit her Soul' (1993). He would stay with Ultima Vez for many more years before founding Les Ballets du Grand Maghreb. Blindness plays a central role in several of the company's performances, such as 'Shining Sound of Dance' (2010) and 'Clair Obscur'(2014).

Piet Devos is a writer and researcher with visual impairment.
Devos became blind at the age of five due to retinal cancer. The experiences of illness and disability have been formative, as a person, as a writer and as a researcher. But also as an activist for a greener and more inclusive world. Above all, Pete sees the richness of different bodies and perspectives, and tells untold stories from there. At WIT.H, Piet Devos also co-wrote the Crip Manifesto. 

© Rudy Carlier

As part of Festival van de Gelijkheid (15, 16, 17 December 2023) at Vooruit and surroundings, Ghent.
Full programme

published on: 31.12.22