Thursday 11 July

Making shadows

Duet with hoists

My two cents worth for the blog: the experience with Experience Collider has simply transformed my daughter Jana. Each session she went to with a 100% commitment and then stories of the experience over the weeks are wonderful to hear and witness. Real friendships were formed, Jana shared with me how communication is "so much more than words, I can have full conversations signing". For her as she says " the children with disabilities changed to " just people, friends". Abilities, disabilities , the labels became secondary through this joint work in the production. Simply a group of teenagers working together . I can't wait to see the end product of this journey but for me the outcome is already more than I would have ever expected.

Anja Danner


It's been a huge three days! I really feel like we've had a massive progression, not only from Monday until today but from the start of the project to this point. Sometimes when you're in the middle of a challenge you wonder if you're achieving anything and then you think back to where we started and I feel like we've come on in leaps and bounds. Today we started structuring some material and that felt fantastic because we have all these bits and pieces on different apparatus and on the floor and when we started structuring it we could see that we had quite a lot of material!

It can take a whole day just to feel comfortable in the space after a break but each time we meet that time gets more condensed. So it might now take only an hour or a couple of hours to find that place.  Trust as we know it takes a long time to develop between two people and only a few of the participants knew each other before this started so everyone is on an even playing field developing trust. The level of trust is really starting to build and so we can get into experimenting and creating as soon as we get into the space. We're all finding a common language - Sam and Nel and Bernie too -and developing trust within our working practice. So it's definitely the theme for this project.  

There's also been huge progress in communication with the DADAA artists, with each other, with us and with the other kids. We're developing modes of communication which means we can understand each other more clearly. It was a real break through once we started being able to talk to each other.

I've particularly enjoyed learning how to speak to Evan. At first we started by using his book of images. We worked through them and he either blinks or nods when he is at the right category or image and that was wonderful when I was taught how to do that with him. Now we've gone on and made some of our own language around the work. This afternoon we were working on a section called Conductor where Evan is choosing, with me, different physical states through images - to direct the rest of the group. He really loves that - being the director and the boss is really cool for him.

And we were speaking at lunch about Leila. We have some signs and ways of communicating with her but we thought that before we work next time we'd like to actually do some training with her parents because Leila has her own signs which are not Auslan so we thought they could teach us the key signs and gestures she makes so that we could speak to her more frequently.

I think the DADAA participants have really changed in this process, as have the Circus kids. You can see really nice relationships forming, even in the lunch break where they're finding ways to communicate with each other.