Festival without limits: the kick towards a 100% inclusive scene in Uruguay

The president of the Official Service of Diffusion, Representations and Shows of Uruguay (SODRE), Martín Inthamoussú, speaks during an interview with EFE, on October 29, in Montevideo. EFE / Federico Anfitti

Montevideo, Dec 2 (EFE) .- Audio description for the blind or individual wireless sound for deaf people are some of the elements that will incorporate the inclusive body or “without limits” that, for the first time in its history, the National Ballet of Uruguay will have in April 2022.
From the hand of the premise “Nothing about us without us” that the communities of blind, deaf, autistic or people with any other disability promote, the Festival Without Limits arises, an initiative that seeks to take the discourse of inclusion into action with the art as a vehicle.
This is stated in dialogue with Efe by the president of the Uruguayan Sodre, Martín Inthamoussú, who remarks that although the institution that houses the Ballet and the national choirs has facilities with inclusive access, the same does not happen at the level of its programming and a initiative in that line.
With the goal of paying off this historic debt, a commission is forged that not only includes cultural references but also groups such as the National Union of the Blind of Uruguay, the Down Association of Uruguay and the Association of Parents and Friends of the Deaf of the country in what Inthamoussú calls a “community curatorship.”
According to the cultural manager, Sodre thus embarked on a path that will have as a first step incorporating an audio description system and an application called NaviLens that allow the person to locate themselves autonomously.
“If (the person) asks for help, of course we are working to have the team trained for that, but first we want to give them all the guarantees that this is an autonomous experience,” he says, and emphasizes that it will work both for the public and behind from the stage, where inclusive access was not previously planned.
As a result of a selection by the National Institutes of Culture of the European Union (EUNIC), which will allocate some 60,000 euros for the Uruguayan project, the specific proposal of the festival arises, whose program is still unknown but that next April will seek to mark a milestone in the performing arts of the country for, in the future, and as Inthamoussú emphasizes, “cease to exist”.
“The festival is a beautiful opportunity to have these shows in our halls but the objective is that it ceases to exist, that we do not need a festival to have a diverse and inclusive program. It is a first step,” he says.
For the director of the Ballet Nacional del Sodre, María Noel Riccetto, the work process that gave rise to the festival was a source of both joy and “responsibility”.
As she pointed out to the press at the festival’s presentation, the Uruguayan dancer took up the challenge with a few words from the representative of the National Union of the Blind of Uruguay Nicole Viera in mind: “You don’t realize what it is that a blind person feels and see a ballet. “
Thus for Riccetto, whose voice will be the one that will explain to blind people each movement of The Nutcracker – pioneering premiere that, this December 15, will test the audio description -, the maxim is to follow the indications of the referents of each community to “have the highest respect and do a good job. “
Another similar one is the challenge of the Spanish choreographer Ingrid Molinos, who, with the experience of integrating the British inclusive dance company Amici since 2009, will take on the choreography of the ballet that, with five dancers with disabilities as protagonists, will open the Festival Sin Límites.
Molinos, who began working with inclusive dance as a result of a personal experience with disability, assures Efe that her work methodology is initially focused on “forming connections” with dancers.
“For me the particularity is not in the dancers with disabilities but in working together, having a disability or not. (The key) is to find the personality of the dancers and develop and facilitate that personality, that they have the choice of their movements and to be able to express oneself “, he points out.
Thus, for the choreographer, it is as important to work individually as in a group, since the movement of each one must be in harmony with the group.
On the other hand, while waiting for inclusive dance, as a “universal language”, to spread throughout the world, Molinos believes that the experience that Uruguay is creating will be “super enriching” for dancers and choreographers as well as for the audience.
“It is necessary to have visibility on a stage equally (…) it is a reflection of our society and it has to be seen in all areas, including culture,” he concludes.
Alejandro Prieto


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