Empower in Motion is a ballet-inclusive gala hosted by The Children Today Charitable Trust. All proceeds go towards building personalised equipment like terrain-proof wheelchairs and tricycles for children with special needs. The night's performances showcased a wide array of artists, from young talent to established names of the international ballet world. Comprised of eleven bite-sized choreographies, Empower in Motion presented the audience with a scrumptious tasting menu of differently abled dancers in a joyous celebration of movement as an art form.
One of the gala's standout performances was a double act by inclusive dance company, Stopgap. Both pieces featured poetic audio descriptions by content artist Lily Norton. The first, an ensemble piece entitled Tight Textures, was a fabulous tongue-in-cheek poke at the able-bodied gaze at disability which left the audience hollering and hooting with big smiles across the auditorium. After that came Nadenh Poan's spellbinding solo performance, Unplugged. Watching him spinning and turning, jumping and flipping defied all expectations (prejudices, perhaps…) one might have of what is humanly possible to do while strapped to a wheelchair.
Not one, but two world premieres were on the evening's bill. Passionately Defiant was, as the title suggests, a forceful and personal piece choreographed and performed by professional disabled dancer Joseph Powell-Main. He danced it to an orchestral version of Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones made especially for this piece. The Owl Falls, a modern choreography by Sebastian Kloborg, was performed by long-time ballet partners Maria Kochetkova and Daniil Simkin giving the audience a jaunty and at times nightmarish peak at how world-class ballet can also look.
Opening the second act was a beautiful interpretation of Romeo and Juliet performed by two young dancers, set to the sweeping score by Prokofiev for the ballet of the same name. This piece was the product of a collaboration between National Youth Ballet and Parable Dance titled All In!. It was introduced by a short video showing how the collaboration has helped the dancers discover and expand their abilities through dance, proving to us and the children of All In! that you do not need to be equally abled to dance the bedroom pas de deux together.
Capping off a successful evening, ballet superstar Simkin joined up with principal ballerina Shori Kase for a roaring performance of the final pas de deux from Le Corsaire. A Prix de Lausanne favourite, this choreography requires immense technical skill and it was an absolute thrill to get to watch these two dancers flaunt their incredible jumps and pirouettes to audible gasps of wonder from the audience.
The link to donate to Children Today's work is here.
Review: Julie Renata