CriticalDance Forum

Bella Lewitzky Recovering From Amputation
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Author:  Azlan [ Tue Jan 04, 2000 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Bella Lewitzky Recovering From Amputation

Some of you have already heard that Bella Lewitzky's right leg was amputated a few months ago. It is happily reported that she is recovering well. The story can be found at:<BR> <A HREF=",2107,500145687-500174911-500684758-0,00.html" TARGET=_blank>,2107,500145687-500174911-500684758-0,00.html</A> <P>This amputation came at a time well after Lewitzky stopped dancing. But this prompted me to ask how many dancing careers were abruptly brought to a halt by a serious injury resulting in a loss of limb. This is traumatic enough an experience for most people; the effect it has on a dancer must be much more tragic.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jan 06, 2000 5:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bella Lewitzky Recovering From Amputation

Bella's positive attitude in the article is heartening and I'm sure that we all wish her very best wishes. Risk of serious injury must be the scariest part of the dance scene both from cumulative problems and one-off accidents. I suspect that the percentage of dancers who exit the profession due to injury is high. <P>In 1999, Jo Jewkes of Rambert retired after an injury that would not heal properly. You can read about her struggles to regain full fitness in magazine over the past 18 months. Also, Lisa Pavane, a popular dancer in ENB, asked to be released from her contract due to an earlier back injury. These are the ones we hear about, but I wonder how many others there are.<P>The saddest UK story I know is that of Celeste Dandekar of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, but it is also one of the most cheering. In the 80s, LCDT was at the pinnacle of contemporary dance in the UK, but alas is no more, although other smaller companies, have picked up the torch. Celeste had a terrible accident during rehearsals and was unable to walk again. One of her colleagues Darshan Singh Bhuller created a 10 minute piece about the accident called 'The Fall', which is available on video, but I haven't seen it.<P>The cheering part is that Celeste refused to be beaten and went on to create the professional CandoCo Dance Company, an integrated dance company with around 2/3 dancers who are disabled, including Celeste and 4/5 who are not. They are one of the most well-known contemporary dance companies in the country and do a great deal of educational activity as well as professional performance work. <P>Perhaps even more important they act as a beacon for integrated dance and a number of colleges now offer dance opportunities for those with a variety of special needs. There is increasing interest in their work around the world and they visited Italy and Japan last year.<P>At a dance evening to celibrate the International Day for the Disabled, I saw excerpts from 3 works by other integrated companies, including a pdd for 2 women, one a uniped, which was one of the most lovely pieces I saw last year. Some of the CandoCo dancers, including Celeste are retiring from performance this year and the young woman I saw at the evening is one of those who will be taking over.<P>Various people have made important achievements in dance. For Celeste she has made a double achievement, both in conventional dance where she reached the top of her dance form and now with her creation of Cando Co. Long may it continue and the other groups and educational work which takes place around it.<P>If you would like to know more about Cando Co, their e-mail is:<BR> <P>They also get a brief description on <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>But let's never forget the risks that dancers undertake on our behalf. And perhaps we should remember it when we become over-vitriolic in our criticism of a performance or a performer. <P><BR>

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Jan 09, 2000 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bella Lewitzky Recovering From Amputation

Well put, Stuart. Thanks for you the CandoCo story.

Author:  Michael [ Mon Jan 10, 2000 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bella Lewitzky Recovering From Amputation

The debilitating damage to dancers' bodies is all the more disturbing considering that other artists seldom if ever damage their bodies in the purusit of their art.<P>Photographers don't often go blind from squinting through view finders. Writers don't develop permanent writers' cramp. And painters don't become color blind from looking at their palettes. <P>Yet dancers can suffer debilitating physical damage at an early age. <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 01-10-2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Feb 13, 2000 7:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bella Lewitzky Recovering From Amputation

Here's a photo of Candoco when they were appearing at a Festival in Boston. The Festival of dance companies which feature wheelchair users is one of Dance Magazine's '21 Leaps into the 21st Century'. <P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

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