Blurring the line between ability and disability, this salsa dance workshop saw people of all hues joining hands and tapping their heels to groovy numbers.

A salsa event in Bengaluru that let people with disabilities share the spotlight
Features Disability Awareness Month Tuesday, November 08, 2016 - 18:57

“Be it all, but don’t be shy,” are the words which greeted a group of some 40 individuals in Bengaluru, including several physically challenged individuals, amidst the cha-cha tapping and bouts of innocent laughter.

The group that turned up at Lahe Lahe, wished to express itself through the sheer joy of dance. Blurring the line between ability and disability, this salsa dance workshop ‘Step it Up - Latin Style’, organised by the NGO, One Step at a Time (OSAAT), saw people of all hues joining hands and tapping their heels to groovy numbers on Sunday.  

With a vision to cater to the needs of people with disabilities by transforming their lives and changing attitudes in India, the NGO held the event for the first time to commemorate the Disability Awareness Month.

Emphasising on inclusion and empathy, not sympathy, Briju Mohan, one of the co-founders of OSAAT, said, “India needs to be as socially inclusive as possible, and for that we are approaching it in different ways, dance being one of them. In fact, this dance workshop is a process of practising inclusion where you have a mix of able-bodied people and people with disabilities dancing together."

"Through this, we are trying to achieve something twofold, one obviously that we are creating an opportunity where people can directly interact with differently-abled individuals, understand their problems and help them come out of their shell; the other one is that salsa as a dance form, we realised, involves partner-effort, something that helps create a healthy social bonding between individuals," he added. 

On being asked whether the use of the term ‘disabled’ to introduce these individuals would have a negative impact on the process of sensitisation, he said, “I myself am not too comfortable being addressed that way, but PWD (people with disabilities) is a universally accepted term.”

He further opined that the real disability is not physical, it lies instead in the attitude stemming from social prejudices, that consider them ‘incapable’ of leading a normal life.

Hence this sensitisation process that is often talked about and seldom practiced in physical reality is what drove this organization working in advocacy, adaptive fitness and adaptive art for differently-abled individuals, to set up such inclusive events.

 

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