Moving portraits

An inclusive dance project from Sense

Moving Portraits project captured the stories of six people with complex disabilities through dance. Each were asked: What it is like being me?

Inclusive dance workshops across Birmingham were run by Lisa Simpson, choreographer and new artistic director for Sense and the National Inclusive Dance Programme. These workshops helped identify six people happy to share their stories through dance.

Two dancers on a stage
Abdul and Musa, two of our dancers

These stories were then filmed and presented as part of an immersive community experience during the Birmingham 2022 Festival at the Birmingham Rep theatre.

A fim showing on a large screen to an audience in a darkened theatre

Accessibility of the stories was key. Each story was captured using cinematography, dance, audio descriptions, captions and a specially-designed sound score that translates movement into vibration. The sound score was split into two elements, one score that reflects the movement through vibration and another co-designed by the dancers to reflect their story.

The free event at the Birmingham Rep theatre became a celebration of the people Sense supports, as well as the work of dance artists.

With thanks to Arts Council England and Doyle Cart.

Moving Portraits won the award for Digital Inclusion at the Digital Culture Awards 2023 from Arts Council England and the Digital Culture Network.