X Dance Festival (XDF) aims to situate inclusion and accessibility in the dance field and to grow future possibilities toward diverse representation in dance. Juxtaposing normativity by inviting varieties of physicality and thinking bodies on stage inspires reorientations of perception in how we can experience dance, and how we can be reshaped by it. XDF is jointly organised by DanceAbility FInland ry (DAF) and Kaaos Company which are both dedicated to stay engaged and responsive to the conversation of inclusion and accessibility in dance through pedagogy and artistic intervention.
X Dance Finland has grown from the contribution and generosity of all the people who have been involved in previous festivals since it began in 2016. This has enabled X Dance Festival to be where it is now. The theme for 2021 is ADAPT – ABILITY.
Each X Dance Festival aims to move beyond tokenism and the need to use the word inclusion. Our intention is the ongoing negotiation of bridging gaps in a map that does not assume we always know what inclusion is and to hold space for what is unknown. We feel the representation of this approach needs to include people with and without experience working with inclusive practices to allow dialogues to emerge in wider contexts of relevancy in the dance field in Finland and also internationally. We recognise making mistakes is part of the process of learning how to serve these ideals in ways that grow community, connection, and cohesion.
On a practical note ADAPT - ing the festival program in 2021 to a mostly online format already excludes some people, while simultaneously providing access to others. With this in mind, we embrace these words by Eric Kupers of Dandelion Dance Theater, as we feel we cannot say it better ourselves:
We view inclusion as a fundamental right and life-long journey, rather than a destination. There will always be room to grow and deepen the accessibility of our offerings, and so we welcome feedback, discussion, volunteers, and other kinds of collaboration.
We will make lots of mistakes along the way, but we are committed to heading with constancy and humility in the direction of full inclusiveness.
We encourage everyone involved in X Dance Festival 2021 to engage with pronouns, introduce your name when speaking, and to audio describe yourself when present in Zoom. We thank you for this consideration.
We want to thank all the funding bodies that have supported the work of X Dance Festival, DanceAbility Finland, and Kaaos Company over the years.
The Jess Curtis workshop is a cooperation with Työpajafestivaali (organised by Zodiak – Uuden tanssin keskus, Tanssin talo and Tanssille ry). Other cooperation partners include Goethe-Institute, Mad House, Crossover Festival (Eucrea ry). We are grateful to Culture for All for advice and for the contribution made by the Community Dance Organization in the planning of some events in this festival.
The 2021 festival is supported by the Wihuri Foundation, Swedish Cultural Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation and Goethe-Institute. Other support is from subsidies funding for DanceAbility Finland from the Arts Promotion Centre, and the Kone Foundation funding for Kaaos Company.