Body Stories

Body Stories: creating artistic work with the DanceAbility method


In this conversation we invite danceability teachers who create artistic work using the DanceAbility® method to share short video excerpts from their artistic work created for their organizations: Maja Hehlen (DE) from DanceAbility Deutschland , Michaela Knox (US)  from Spark Dance Program and dancer Tanya Winters (US) from Body Shift. Each participant is invited to define their practice in relation to the DanceAbility® method and working with inclusive practice in crafting work. Is there a clear boundary of what characterises the DanceAbillity® method which differes from other improvised creative processes? What are the borders or boundaries? How does the DanceAbility® method support creative agency and thinking in the creation of work? Is there anything that could be developed? What are the challenges and benefits of using DanceAbility® in artistic contexts?

WHEN: Saturday 12.6. @ 17:00-18:00

WHERE: Zoom-link here: 


maja-hehlen-photo-from-siegfried-thielMaja Hehlen

Licenced DanceAbility Master Teacher
Artistic director of DanceAbility e.V. in Germany lic.-phil. psychologist

In 1996 Maja Hehlen participated in the first DanceAbility Teacher Training with Alito Alessi in Eugene, Oregon. She has been teaching DanceAbility ever since and contributed to the development of the method over the last 24 years. She has organized numerous DanceAbility projects in Germany and Switzerland. In 2000 she founded “Ensemble BewegGrund Trier” in Germany with regular premieres of inclusive professional dance performances for all people in the Tuchfabrik, Trier and abroad. In 2015 she participated in the first DanceAbility Master Teacher Training with Alito Alessi in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since then, she has been teaching the DanceAbility method to professionals from the cultural and pedagogical field, with the aim of teaching a methodology which, by reducing to the essential, transforms complex dynamics of diverse groups into inclusive artistic processes accessible for all.


Tanya Winters

A Chicago native, Tanya fell in love with Austin after a weekend trip. As a disabled dancer, she loves creating and pushing the boundaries of art and movement! Tanya’s career as an artist began in theatre in 2005 and shifted to dance in 2007 thanks to a wooden chair and the desire to tell a story. As a student of Austin Community College, she gained extensive background in improvisation and choreography. Tanya became a certified DanceAbility instructor in 2011. Currently, she dances with a project called the Body Shift Collective where she choreographs and participates in performances; teaches and engages in classes, as well as, educates and advocates for inclusion. She hopes that her work will motivate other dancers to to think outside the box and erase the line between ability and disability.


Michaela Knox

Michaela Knox is the founding director of Spark Dance Program and a Master Teacher of the Danceability method. She received her MA in Educational Leadership from University of New Mexico. She is currently the artistic director of YES Dance Theatre in Maine.

Michaela is most passionate about supporting dancers in the discovery and research of self-expression. She believes that when dancing together we find a common language that dissolves barriers.

ABOUT: DanceAbility has grown from all the bodies who have participated in workshops since 1987 and developed into a methodology so the work could be shared by Alito Alessi. The method is an evolving practice and comprehensive pedagogy to open access to dance for all bodies. Presently the work exists in 45 countries. For more information DanceAbility International