Fusion: The UK’s First Inclusive Professional Ballroom Showcase

Fusion cast with Rashmi Becker (3rd from left) Photo: Stephen Wright Photography

Fusion, the UK's first inclusive Latin and ballroom dance showcase with disabled and non-disabled artists, has been making headlines and leaving audiences demanding more. Presented by pioneering UK dance company Step Change Studios (covered in one of our previous articles), Fusion premiered at the internationally renowned home for dance in London, Sadler’s Wells, in May 2018. Fusion Producer and founder of Step Change Studios, Rashmi Becker talks  about Fusion and invites reflections from two of the dancers from the show.
Redefining the Genre by Rashmi Becker

My vision for Fusion was to bring together talented professional artists from different dance backgrounds to push the boundaries of ballroom with beautiful, powerful, performances that redefine the genre. Fusion featured leading choreographers from London’s West End, and popular television shows including Dancing with the Stars, and showcased 20 disabled and non-disabled artists through duets, solos and group numbers. As UK talent, I wanted to provide a platform for the world’s best and was delighted to include the first UK performance by wheelchair dancer, Pawel Karpinski and his standing partner Nadine Kinczel, from Poland, who hold European and World competitive ballroom dance titles.

Let's Talk About Suicide and Disability

By Bethany Hoppe

Christine Mason Miller said, “At any given moment you have the power to say: This is not how the story will end.” A recurring theme for the last two years has been high-profile suicides in conjunction with a dramatic spike in the national average of suicide and suicide attempts. Given the gravity and level of surprise at last week’s two celebrity losses, the media has finally begun to focus its lens beyond the alarming statistics that we’ve known about since 2016, and steer towards a conversation about the root cause of the issue. According to the CDC, the suicide rate has risen 30% since 1999. Half of those are linked to mental illness, and 15% to depression.

The disability community has not gone untouched by suicide as a population, or by one of its own high-profile members with the loss of Verne Troyer. But unlike public reactions to suicide by high-profile newsworthy personalities, public reaction to suicide by people with disabilities, celebrity or not, commonly border on understanding and condoning, rather than grief and prevention. According to a Disaboom study, 52% of American survey respondents would choose death over disability. There is an overlying sense that the choice to end one’s life was simply based on the fact that they were disabled to begin with, and it is accepted as reasonable. This reinforces that living with a disability is not quality of life; people quickly decide they could never deal with having a disability themselves, and the hardships to survive in what seems to be an un-accepting and inaccessible world is too much for anyone based on the evidence. So silently, lost lives become justified simply because a world that is perfectly capable of accommodating everyone, is yet to fully integrate the largest minority in the world.

Staying Safe During Your Hospital Stay

By Lucy Lawrence

In a previous article, we covered some preparations and what to expect when going to the hospital for surgery. Staying in the hospital can be an uncomfortable affair, but more importantly, it can be dangerous. Going to the hospital for any length of time, exposes you to a variety of diseases that your immune system may not be up to handling. Medical mistakes are also commonplace, making up the third leading cause of death in the United States. There’s only so much you can do to prepare, prior to your hospital stay, to protect yourself from infection and medical malpractice but you can minimize the risks by being proactive. There are a couple of pointers that you should keep in mind, during your visit, to ensure that your recovery goes smoothly.

Pay Attention to Medications

Often, you’ll be placed on several different drugs when staying in the hospital. It’s not uncommon for pills to look alike or have similar names, leading doctors and pharmacists do make mistakes in prescriptions. Staffers may also make mistakes in dosages, reading micrograms (mcg) as milligrams (mg) or vice-versa. Before taking any medication, it’s a good idea to ask your nurse what it does, why it’s necessary, and what dosage you need. You should also ask about any side effects that you may experience.