Alice Sheppard / Kinetic Light

Alice took her first dance class on a dare and found she enjoyed moving so much that she resigned her academic professorship in order to begin a career in dance. She made her debut with Infinity Dance Theater, and then joined AXIS Dance Company, touring nationally and teaching in the company’s education and outreach programs.

Alice has danced in projects with Ballet Cymru, GDance, and Marc Brew Company in the United Kingdom. In the United States, she has worked with Marjani Forté, MBDance, Infinity Dance Theater, and Steve Paxton. She has been a guest artist with AXIS Dance Company, Full Radius Dance, and MOMENTA Dance Company. Alice has also performed as a solo artist and academic speaker throughout the United States.

Alice is the founder and artistic lead for Kinetic Light, a collaboration with dancer Laurel Lawson, lighting and video artist Michael Maag, and professors Sara Hendren, Yevgeniya Zastavker, and students of Olin College. Alice was accepted in the third cohort of NEW INC’s arts incubator for this project.

“I believe that dance should engage the critical questions that define us and enable us to function as sensitive, committed citizens off the stage. I begin with my body, as it is with my wheelchair, without my wheelchair; with crutches, and even with crutches and chair together; as it exists in history and as a woman of color. I understand all these starting points as embodiments that have different movement possibilities. I integrate mainstream dance vocabularies into the unique movement of each dancer. I seek roots for each piece in what I know of disability art, culture, and history. Equally as intertwined in my process and in the work itself are resonances of my histories and lived experience as a queer disabled person of color.”

Visiting Artist | August 25 - September 8, 2017


Sheppard, who joined the AXIS Dance Company in residence as a company member in 2007, returns to MANCC in 2017 to further develop her own work titled Descent From Beauty.

Descent From Beauty is an evening-length dance work that tells the story of Venus and Andromeda. Featuring a unique, architectural stage that acts as a partner in the choreography and storytelling, Descent From Beauty questions norms and assumptions around movement that we find "aesthetically pleasing or proper" in dance, as it challenges western and heteronormative conceptions of beauty, and shows the artistic potential for integrating accessibility into the creative process.

Descent From Beauty explores the experience known to all users of wheels: the raw pleasure of flying free down a slope. Disabled dancers Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson will push the limits of their training as they develop movement to be performed on the ramped stage with  an eye toward showing what disability and disabled movement contribute to dance. Disabled lighting and video artist Michael Maag will join the residency focusing on the creation of a multi-sensory experience that reveals the power of disability in dance.

At MANCC, Alice will have the entire team come together for the first time to finalize the choreography for the dancers and finish work on the movement and technical design elements. Sheppard plans a work-in-progress showing, plus engagement opportunities for students on campus and for community members.  Descent From Beauty will premiere at the Britt Festival in Oregon in fall 2017.

Sheppard has also invited two writers, an artist (emerging choreographer/ dancer) and an established scholar of disability arts and culture, into residence to further an emerging conversation about how to language disability and dance. Since 2015, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MANCC has piloted an endeavor to embed writers with selected resident artists to support the thoughtful articulation of their creative process, finished work and oeuvre in the public realm. This early initiative embraces a longer-term goal of creating strong, contextualized materials for the artist and their audiences to help foster a deeper engagement and conversation with challenging ideas made manifest in contemporary work.

Collaborators in Residence: Laurel Lawson [Dancer], Michael Maag [Lighting and Video Designer], Joseph Futral [Technical Director], Lisa Niedermeyer [Performance Coach], Carrie Sandahl and Jerron Herman [Writers].

World Premiere

Cynthia Oliver

Virago-Man Dem
October 25 - 28
BAM Fisher (NYC)


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