MÉXICO: DISABILITY AND CONTEMPORARY DANCE, THE BODY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF WHEN THERE ARE NO WORDS

Nidia Sánchez
COLUMNIST

«Even today the inclusive term used as avant-garde is paraphernalia, the people who are defending the human rights of people with disabilities, we see it, It is distressing how the inclusive label is ratified by saying that people with disabilities are allowed to enter, what is accepted and not, when we should have standardized care for all people. The state is obliged to provide services and opportunities to all ”.

It was two decades ago that he considered how to apply contemporary dance to people with autism, deafness, hyperactivity and other types of disability, how to make each one of those who are part of our society and have the same rights visible.

She is Brenda Ramos Reyes our guest today. Choreographer, teacher, researcher and humanist committed to causing transformations of social impact through contemporary dance applied to children and young people with disabilities, who managed to break down their own limitations, finding themselves in ways unthinkable until then.

Brenda Ramos Reyes

Brenda recently represented the state of Veracruz in the National Theater Congress to provide contributions on gender, management and governance in the field of performing arts to nurture the work of all cultural actors. She was invited to give a master class on artistic education in people with disabilities as part of the Bravo Garzón Festival, organized by Artistic Difusion of the Veracruzana University.

With a warm smile and a frank word, with extensive experience, Brenda Ramos has a Bachelor of Arts with an option in Contemporary Dance from the Universidad Veracruzana. Diploma in Art Therapy from the Universidad Veracruzana. Diploma in Art Therapy from the Universidad Veracruzana. Specialist in Management and Cultural Policies from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and the Centro Nacional de las Artes. Master in Humanist Education graduated from the Center for Gestalt Studies and Research.

Originally from Mexico City, she made her first approach to dance at the National Institute of Fine Arts and with the choreographer Marco Antonio Silva.

Doctor in Special Education from the IEXPRO University of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Executive Counselor «José Vasconcelos Calderón» in the Academic Council for Educational Quality (CACE), of the Latin American Education Network.

She has been an academic in higher education for more than a decade at the normal Centro Educativo Siglo XXI, the Institute of Performing Arts Nandehui, the Escuela Superior de Artes de Veracruz and the Universidad Veracruzana in the Bachelor of Arts Teaching, where she imparts the Experience Formative of Special Education and Developmental Psychology.

At the Instituto Veracruzano de la Cultura, he has dedicated time to developing and promoting artistic education, serving groups of children and young people with disabilities.

As part of his commitment, he published educational research works, among which are the article “Habits, practices and cultural consumption of normal students and teachers of the Centro Educativo Siglo XXI, in the City of Xalapa Veracruz. Research measured through instruments of the National Council for Culture and the Arts, as well as the text “Emancipated Bodies”.

He has been in charge of the Independent Group of Contemporary Dance Mobile, made up of young people with disabilities, with whom he provided performances for ten years, and the Raíz Collective, selected for the choreographic montage of his authorship «Little Women» based on La Casa de Bernarda Alba, by Federico García Lorca, as a result of the national call «I’m going to the Theater» Virtual Room.

She is a cultural manager and workshop at the Instituto Veracruzano de la Cultura, she works as a teacher, researcher in the field of performing arts, being selected nationally for the Seminar «From inclusion to interpellation: scene, disability and politics», organized by the Ingmar Bergman Chair, Culture UNAM, the British Council, and the Institute for Critical Studies.

His dedication and effort led him to deserve the encouragement of creation by FONCA through the State Fund for Culture and the Arts of Mexico. He has participated in conferences at the Benemérita Normal Veracruzana, the Higher Institute of Performing Arts NANDEHUI, the Veracruz Institute of Culture, the Ministry of Education of Veracruz and the Autonomous University of Mexico.

Brenda Ramos is responsible for holding the first and second Art Encounters for the Deaf, El Primer Inclusive Massivo, intervening in the Parque Juárez in the city of Xalapa Veracruz, with more than 150 people of all ages and conditions; organized the first, second and third inclusive meeting where it promotes the participation of all people with and without disabilities, standing out dysfunctional older adults.

These are some data of our guest, who has done an impressive choreographic work for children and young people in the state of Veracruz, living in Xalapa.

In 1995 he faced the first great challenge, two brothers, the boy with hyperactivity and the young woman with mental retardation. Being a graduate of the dance career, she could not do much and it was at that time that she began to wonder what to do for another human being.

He stopped to rethink the social impact of art, what the tools would be, the applause is the food, but it does not transcend, the viewer can be touched but it is not a vital question, so he began to work in schools, to know the population, not only in the case of its potential but how artistic practice was being handled from its possibility for people with disabilities.

It was evident that there was no work, this population was not visible and it began its titanic work in 2000, where it formed a group of young people with motor disabilities, autism, as a creative challenge it was asked: What can I do with these diverse bodies? How can I generate stage memory? Socialization is complex. How can I get a person who doesn’t listen to get involved with music?

“I began to explore, I realized the impact that was being generated not only by creation but by what was permeating other edges, in their families who applauded them, the motor condition did not exist, the balance, they could not walk without the support of their hands. This experimentation that was associated with the great work of art was gratifying for the family, of dance, to strengthen the will of individuals, and that made those who could not walk walk alone with dance, that in the group they helped each other, and those who did not hear were given signals, those who had gaps, such as Throughout this exercise, the young people began to be different, they were no longer seen as disabled people who had to be locked up, as a dance group we gave performances in Xalapa, we participated in Veracruz, in Mexico City on the International Dance Day, they were able to share with the dance guild, they lived with choreographers and professional dancers, they were valued, they were ten years of the «Independent Group of Contemporary Dance», they arrived as one and were transformed, there was a physical-emotional exchange, no one wanted to see before that they could express themselves in dance and be moved to tears.

«The dancers are of kinesthetic condition».

“This will to fight against their own nature was evident, those who did not have balance struggled to have it on stage, the movement became a vital issue, he gave them presence, voice, the body spoke for itself when there were no words. “With the work done until then, an exchange was achieved with the Universidad Veracruzana (UV), with the dance group of the UV and Jazz UV, it was like an experimental laboratory to create that synergy.

Brenda remembers her student Guadalupe Cano, a born dancer, who once expressed: “this is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me”, referring to an exchange between the audience and the stage, the emotion turned into tears.

Doing dance recreationally for hyperactive children, downloading all the energy they have on top, an attention disorder, to speak to a brain requires a longer time for its development, neurologists tend to provide support, medications to focus their attention so much energy, they must have specialized care.

From teaching, children who need to run must be known before they can concentrate, infants need to be directed.

The issue of the pandemic has hit us, the relational part from the screen, we are still present with the other age despite not feeling ourselves, but we see and listen to each other, in the case of disability there are different degrees, we can see that there are levels, those who need to learn beyond painting, need to get dressed, go to the bathroom alone, the autonomous part that is worked at home as support from outside.

There are other types of disability and the fact that you can work from the virtual, make an approach, I disguise myself as much as I can, create attractive scenarios, there is a triad always that is the family, he or she and the teacher, where the family is the pillar that sustains and builds.

In the case of autism, it is a neurodevelopmental disorder, there is a social disability, the children may not be there and they have been given games, they learn to put the program, they imitate it, the monitors in autism are being very functional.

The teaching continues through the screens, the physical contact will be preserved, the laughter exhausted from the ear and the sight is invaluable to touch the subject, that effect is still necessary this hybrid part to continue working from the virtual making the face-to-face moments valuable , a gap was made.

Not everyone has the technology, not everyone has the support of the family, this problem has not arisen now, it is reflected, it strips us, the few opportunities and attention to cover everyone, there are regions where there is not even light.

We must prepare for the lag, after all this confinement situation, the return of the students, many teachers have not been trainers or facilitators by the state, there is a radius of social inequality, services do not reach everywhere, teaching is standardized, what different from schools to a rural school and education plans are like that, I cannot fail what has already been failed, the conditions in which not everyone could connect or where they had infected people, how are they going to learn in classes if they have To care for the infected family member, many young people were temporarily discharged from last March, there were graduates of all degrees.“Este tiempo ha sido el remedo de la educación, lo he venido observando como maestra de educación superior, entre los jóvenes hubo un caso de una estudiante contagiada y con neumonía grave, se le ayudó a terminar en la asesoría de tesis.

Teachers have had a clear confrontation with technology when trying to reach students and not all are ready to take distance education, at the high school or university level, yes, but the minors do not because they require close accompaniment, if only that was the variant but we had others that continue to press us, parents without work, mothers to whom gender equality did not apply, the roles, multiplied To be taking care of the home, the children, this part leads us to a complicated emotional situation, pay attention to mental and physical health, each house and family lives a complicated situation of confinement, it is to live with the fear of contagion, dimension where all this that is the pandemic brings us.

The species that survive are the ones that adapt, take it in the most intelligent way, if the teachers relax and do not get hooked on the problems of young people, now in education we are very pressured by health.

Regarding human rights, we are assimilating from the institutions, in terms of disability, all people who have the right of access to culture are unknown, there is no accessibility ramp for those who use a wheelchair. A similar ignorance occurs with people due to their indigenous condition.

The foregoing is not in informational brochures, in Braille language, fortunately in 2006 the Convention on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities was formed, in 2007 it was ratified that they would be valid before the ONU.

Still at this time in our country we can witness cases of medical consultations in which you can be deaf and in the health sector it is almost a feat that care is provided to people with hearing disabilities and that they do not miss their appointment. The same occurs in other scenarios such as bus transportation in the terminals when departures are announced and people who do not hear, what is the type of care, talking about inclusive space has taken the term to provide care for people with disabilities, or we should even mention it as a separate achievement.

The value of art in education and not only in disability contributes to the development of students, from the IVEC it is expected that approaches will be provided, permeate to other geographical sites, the UV, the municipality, bring art to all spaces, give everyone an opportunity, we are obliged to give attention to people, children, women, men, generate a fair space in the pandemic and after it to recover.

People build up from their senses, what kind of music reaches them, what those lyrics say, that’s what they feed on, everything we see and what we hear is what we are. We are going to deconstruct the social fabric in a playful way, the instances are obliged to do, to leave, today workshops are given to register from the links and that is elitist, who will serve those regions where there is no electricity and other basic services?

Go out to do the real work and change the thoughts of Veracruz or any other region of our country, but not from the desk, there must be a regulation of movies and music, what young people are listening to, what is happening.

Globalization has partly led us to fraudulent situations, I am concerned about the loss of identity, values, the insecurity in which we live, perhaps the violence that breeds in intimate spaces. Those of us who have been close to the education of children are talking about children carrying out serious acts. Institutions do not take on the task they have to do, they complicate us and if they are not going to help us, then they do not put obstacles in the way.

It is of interest to point out that many of those who come to the public function to exercise administration as far as culture is concerned, may be people with good intentions and no knowledge, who we know struggle with these situations when delivering projects that they do not even understand and in the worst case scenario they are not interested. The profile of public officials should have at least a master’s degree in cultural administration. The activities with which Brenda Ramos is committed now is to produce knowledge and share it, it would be wonderful to reach more people in education, the arts and the defense of human rights

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