Dancers Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson of Kinetic Light in ‘Descent’ with Sheppard facing upwards on her back with wheels on the ground, Lawson balanced on her stomach on Sheppard’s legs, facing Sheppard, with Lawson’s legs and wheels in the air behind her. Photo by Jay Newman.

Laurel Lawson came to dance late in life. While most professional dancers begin their training in childhood, Lawson started dance between college and graduate school and says she was “absolutely terrible.” She had been on stage since childhood as an actor and musician and was an athlete, part of the US Women’s Sled Development Team. She says her work on stage and as an athlete prepared her for her intensive study of dance, “the hardest 2-3 years of my life.” She credits choreographer and artistic director Douglas Scott of Atlanta’s Full Radius Dance with being her mentor and guide.
Lawson joins another celebrated disabled dancer, choreographer and disability arts innovator Alice Sheppard in performing in Kinetic Light dance collective’s “Descent,” a dance piece inspired by Auguste Rodin’s writings and art about Venus and Andromeda recast as interracial lovers. The piece employs a custom-designed architectural ramp with hills, curves and peaks. The dancers, both in wheel chairs, extend and bend the art of dance in ways that wowed audiences in their New York debut last year and won Dance Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award. The piece also includes sophisticated technology that the dancers interact with. Lighting designer and disabled artist Michael Maag, formerly of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, performs over 300 responsive light and video cues for the evening’s performance.
Lawson describes dance as “a live art.” She says being in the audience is a physical experience as well and adds, “though we train relentlessly nothing is exactly the same twice.” This performance, which is Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, is accessible to disabled patrons through special technology, seating, and special arrangements that can be made through the Ferst Center by calling (404) 894-9600 or (404) 894-2787.
For tickets and more information, visit this link.