Magazine article Dance Teacher

Exploring the Possibilities

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Exploring the Possibilities

Article excerpt

Ginger Thatcher choreographs Pinocchio for Cleveland's Dancing Wheels. BY BRIANNE CARLON

White his nose will still grow, and he'll still dream of becoming a real boy, Pinocchio gets his first physically integrated treatment in Cleveland in December. Five wheelchair and eight stand-up dancers from Dancing Wheels perform the world premiere of Ginger Thatcher's Pinocchio December 2-5 at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts at Saint Ignatius High School.

Thatcher, who danced with Cleveland Ballet and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, has worked as a freelance choreographer for 20 years on Broadway, in opera and ballet. She agreed to create the one-hour show for Cleveland-based Dancing Wheels, even though she had no prior experience working with dancers in wheelchairs.

For advice, she sought out Kitty Lunn, artistic director of physically integrated Infinity Dance Theater and herself a wheelchair dancer. "I had to get into a chair and wheel around to really understand the possibilities of movement," Thatcher says. It was important to understand that the location of the spinal injury dictates what movement can be done and how much the dancer can move his or her chair. There are those in chairs who can stand or do floor work, then get back into their chairs. There are so many combinations," she says. "The stand-up dancers are used to working with their wheelchair counterparts. They were able to show me better ways to make my images happen."

The original story of Pinocchio is different from the Disney version, and Thatcher used elements from both. …

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