David Henry, Bill T. Jones Director of Performing and Media Arts
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
When I dance I feel pleasure, a sense of vitality, connection, and grace. That is the private reality of my dancing. The public reality is that I am almost 70, and my physical presence, my aging flesh, makes some people uncomfortable. I used to feel apologetic about that. At times I looked in studio mirrors while dancing and thought about how much my aging face detracted from my dancing. I fantasized putting a bag over my head. With my face hidden only my dancing would matter. Being in “On Display” has opened the possibility that being exactly who I am is not only acceptable but powerful. I can communicate my inner reality through my body. I too can create beauty and meaning with my physical presence. With the very aspects of my body that people may recoil from. Get used to it!
Diane Duggan, Ph.D
A Letter from Monteroni Ambassador, Sarah Swenson
This past summer of 2016 I had the opportunity to stage ON DISPLAY in Monteroni di Lecce, Italy. This installation was a first of it’s kind in one respect – the vast majority of the disabled performers had developmental and/or cognitive disabilities. It was a very humbling experience for me, because the assumption had been to this point that this population wouldn’t have the capacity to be still, and the opposite turned out to be true. In fact the discipline and commitment required to complete the movement score was deeply present and birthed unanticipated rewards for both participants and observers. Parents commented that they had never seen their (adult) children so still, and one performer remarked to me after rehearsal one day, “This is a good technique for calming oneself, right?” The strong feelings of power and joy at having sustained a 30 minute performance was expressed loudly at the end with a roar of clapping, stamping, and shouting that brought tears to the eyes of many.
The many public officials invited, including the Mayor, were stunned and galvanized, insisting that this work be repeated for the benefit of society at large and the disability community in particular. A newspaper article emerged the next day with the headline:
“E la disabilità si trasfigurò in bellezza” (And disability is transformed into beauty).
White moving sculptures in the atrium show the Baron's Palace. A dance figuratively, with no prescribed mechanisms but with the freedom you deserve to live every living being. Although disabled. "In Monteroni - said the mayor Angelina Storino, attended also by Deputy Mayor Sonia Martin and the Councilor Piero Favale - is the first time that we see this beauty in the open air". There were really so many. The disabled but also social workers who daily share their time with them. "On Display Monteroni ", the name of the event that has joined the UN against discrimination and to break down any prejudice towards different skills, has been enacted on a hot August afternoon thanks to the participation of the international project Monteronese Association "Young Handicapped Volunteers" which for many years has been on the front line next to families who have to contend with a permanent disability and who run a daycare center in the zone.
The disabled in Italy are much marginalized and generally unaccustomed to being included and integrated. The concept of Independent Living is just now making its way into the national dialogue. I was witness to this unprecedented event of true integration and consciousness-raising brought into being by Heidi Latsky’s creative vision. ON DISPLAY is extremely important.
A brief but sincere note of thanks...
Thank you for the opportunity to be part of Heidi Latsky Dance. Each time I participate in a performance, I am positively stunned by the collective experience.
Amro's Juxtapose is such a breathtaking piece, and I am honored to make an appearance.
I am humbled beyond words to be featured on a billboard in Times Square, New York City, in this piece and as part of HLD. I never imagined that a Hispanic, plus-sized, disabled, female/dancer would ever be represented on a billboard among other fiercely diverse bodies––and certainly never imagined I would be that person. This artistically meaningful placement speaks volumes for the increased awareness and acceptance of people within and beyond these communities, and is such a wonderful gift to the arts.
Thank you for opening doors, widening perspectives, challenging stereotypes and breaking barriers.
Milagros "Millie" Gonzalez, M.A.
Thank you for the beautiful, thoughtful and meaningful display of value within each of us. I am in awe. Tonight I was not sure what to expect going to On Display Austin at the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge downtown. Online I saw that it would be something like people standing like statues making very small movements. So I thought "Ok, I'm going to support my friend in his performance." Once I arrived and walked among the unique performers that were located at different locations on the bridge, I fully felt the unique experience that was taking place. Each person had a unique position they were in. The artists were completely focused in the intent of their movement. Watching each person engaged in their position and slow movements revealed to me their unique value and importance within the performance and world around them. Hundreds of people passed by looking at first in bewilderment and then in awe of the performance that they were a part of. Some breezed by running, cycling or skateboarding not taking the time to see the performance and yet their presence made it that much more powerful. It was a wonderful feeling to know again that all life is valuable and each person is not just a body but a soul as well.
Thank you Heidi for your choreography and vision of all life having its own intrinsic value. I am inspired!
Senior Teacher, Pilates Center of Austin
We are taught the concept of not to stare... Now the audience is receiving permission to look. I think all people have a layer of self consciousness about something. The vulnerability creates something like freedom or a release of pressure.
City Ott Thompson
ON DISPLAY MILWAUKEE
We miss you and "ON DISPLAY GLOBAL", we who are on the other side of the world can not wait (for december 3).Thanks to you and your movement "ON DISPLAY" we know a new dimension, although as the world association of disability with all its problems we have known it for 25 years. We did not know of Heidi Latsky and her grand design if not for Sarah with her stories in "American Italian," showing us your videos and photos we have understood the extraordinary person you are. We didn’t even know Sarah before, but by her professionalism and her gentleness she won the hearts of everyone. To you we must say a huge thanks to the emotion that you made us experience, and that we are still living, because of that installation "ON DISPLAY MONTERONI" staged in the hot afternoon of August 5, 2016, in the atrium of the historic Baronial Palace, one of the most beautiful monuments of Monteroni. It was the first time our children and many friends were seen as white living sculptures admiring them in all their grandeur and beauty of their difference. Thanks Heidi for everything, for your passion for your work, for the vision of life, to "ON DISPLAY":Monteroni di Lecce sends a big hello, a big hug from all of our kids and if you find yourself in Italy we'll be welcome.
See you soon!!!!!!
Tonino Mello of Servizi Disabili Monteroni