Tara’s (dis) Ability

Disability is a word fraught with preconceptions and stigma. For centuries, people who have been differently abled have proven that ability can come in all forms and expression of the body and mind is diverse. In medicine and in society, such differently abled people often find challenges in equal treatment free of discrimination. A part of this issue is due to the internalized concepts of “wholeness” society and medicine often hold.

Tara is the demi-goddess of the primordial sound “Om” that created the universe in compassionate existence. The human body is whole and in illness, body parts fall out of harmony. When this happens, patients are labeled as “disabled” and suffer with the stigma of loss rather than a celebration of their resilience. This piece gently explores a dancer and a second dancer who represents her “differently abled” body part that initially refuses to follow the beat. Soon, both rejoin in a caring, joyful jathi celebrating the resilience of the body to create a new state of wholeness.

This piece celebrates the resilience of those who creatively express their differently abled and unique bodies and minds. This piece also hopes to challenge society and medicine to reimagine what “wholeness” is and can be.

Music: Nithin Sawhney “River Pulse”

Choreography: Sophia Salingaros and Shilpa Darivemula

Performances: Opera House in NYC in 2018 and Wild Project in 2018 with International Human Rights and Arts Festival