Disabled Dance: Grounding the Practice in the Law of ‘Cultural Heritage’
The arts, including dance, hold great importance in society. The InVisible Difference project seeks to extend thinking and alter practice around the making, status, ownership, and value of work by contemporary dance choreographers, focusing on that made and performed by differently-abled individuals. This paper considers the position of disabled dance in law and society by asking the overarching question: Is disabled dance a part of our ‘cultural heritage’? This is an important question because it will, or ought to, have both legal and social consequences for this art-form moving forward. First, we examine the legal definition of ‘cultural heritage’ as it has developed in international human rights law and practice. Second, we consider whether disabled dance does or could fit into that definition and therefore claim the protections and potential benefits of that capture. Finally, we consider what might be done under the directive legal instruments that bear on this setting, focusing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).