Mickela dances with Corpuscule Danse in Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada is an old city in North America whose traditions run deep, but the exploration for artistic expression runs deeper.  I was in the cultural metropolis of Québec shooting an upcoming episode of Bare Feet™. Not only did I discover Québécois Trad dance and music at La Grande Rencontre Festival, but I also discovered an incredible force in the dance community, France Geoffroy. France is the founder, director, and principal dancer of Corpuscule Danse, a company and school that features traditional able-bodied dancers alongside dancers with disabilities. Confined to a wheelchair herself, France led a dance class for children with disabilities, and I had the honor of experiencing this class for myself.  Needless to say, the class was extremely moving for me, seeing firsthand how dance can be accessible and translated for every body. And the testimonials I heard from parents on how this class has changed their children's lives was overwhelming!  One student in particular, 14-year-old Lilith, attended the class with her mother Chantal.  Lilith is diagnosed with multiple disabilities, including extremely limited mobility; she is partially deaf; she is partially blind; she can't speak; the list goes on.  But that doesn't stop Lilith, along with the other disabled students from participating: when the students were told to jump, Lilith's mother would bounce her chair.  When the students' arms were raised, Chantal would take Lilith's arms him hers and raise them for her.  When the students would walk forward, Lilith would roll.  All of these movements would be translated for Lilith, while simultaneously Chantal would sign what was going on around her.  France's dance classes have impacted this family tremendously - since taking her class, Chantal told us that her daughter Lilith has been happier, more responsive to outer stimuli, and they've realized that her disabilities weren't as severe as they thought.  I was able to dance with Lilith in the class, and it was a tremendous joy to see how dance has changed this girl's life for the better, along with everyone else participating. Stay tuned for this incredibly moving and exhilarating episode on NYC Life - extra bonus videos to air on the Bare Feet™ YouTube Channel.

Corpuscule2 photo by Joel McAfee

This was sponsored by Tourism Québec.