Hey there beauties. Valentine’s Day is upon us once again and instead of telling you our favorite love quote or talking about what we think the perfect date would be; we are going to talk about the love this young woman has for her art and the mission behind it. Meet Ellice Patterson, our newest Slick Chicks Ambassador, and someone who is doing great things in the world of inclusive dance. Ellice is the Founder of Abilities Dance, a Boston-based non-profit that welcomes dancers of all mental and physical abilities. She knows that the power of dance is an intricate part of the healing process and can be very empowering for all who embrace it.
Photo Credit: Mickey West Photography with dancer Ellice Patterson
Recently we had the opportunity to chat with Ellice about her journey and what's still to come for Abilities Dance. Read the full interview below and get to know our newest "on pointe" Ambassador, Ellice Patterson!
Can you give us an example of when you had to use your own personal advocacy skills?
I have to use my own personal advocacy skills daily, from smaller things such as unapologetically asking for elevators/lifts when I need it (invisible physical challenges problems) and bigger things such as defending my right to exist in spaces that have historically excluded people like me.
What is the goal or mission of Abilities Dance Boston?
Abilities Dance is a nonprofit that welcomes dancers of all mental and physical abilities. Our goal is to increase inclusion in dance. We have three main initiatives: professional performing company, community education outreach, and company partnerships. Our professional company welcomes adult dancers of all mental and physical abilities as we perform across the Boston area and beyond. Our community education outreach involves teaching classes and workshops focused on inclusion in dance. For instance, we have an ongoing relationship with Gateway Arts, a visual arts company for artists with disabilities, as a guest artist to teach movement classes. Our partnership initiative involves reaching out to companies (like Slick Chicks) with similar missions and promote and create work to raise awareness on disability rights and inclusion.
Can you give us an example of a time when you felt most empowered through dancing?
My company performed at a showcase at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre. It was the most empowering experience of my life. As a black woman, I have much respect for the racial inclusive nature while still highlighting black culture in their legendary pieces. As a woman with physical challenges, I would have never thought years ago I would be able to perform with my walker on this prestigious stage. It was reaffirming for me to perform with my company alongside other amazing companies, which empowered me to dance my heart out.
What advice would you give a person with a different ability who wants to explore dancing but isn’t quite sure how to start?
If you’re in the Boston area, we’re always looking for dancers. I am always open to having a conversation about joining! There might be inclusive dance opportunities in your city, so reach out to your local dance organizations and any organization that gives referrals to companies that serve differently able bodies. If not, and being from rural Mississippi I completely understand, then take traditional classes or watch videos from inclusive companies and get creative on how to adapt certain movements to your own abilities. I truly believe that with an open mind, resilience, and a great sense of humor for the hard and uncomfortable times, anyone can be a dancer.
Photo Credit: Mickey West Photography with dancers Ellice Patterson & Eliza Kenney
What is your personal definition of beauty and when do you feel most beautiful?
I personally feel beautiful when I am slaying at life. When I see my company making money moves and when I see myself growing stronger as a dancer, choreographer, and CEO, makes me feel like I am slaying the game and doing it beautifully. My personal definition of beauty is accepting every aspect of my body and my soul and living my truest self unapologetically.
We are so happy to welcome Ellice to the family! We admire her advocacy and determination to shift perspectives in her community and beyond!
Her passion for both dance and inclusion is truly palpable and we are so proud to add her to our growing list of outstanding ambassadors!
And to support their program please check out their fundraising platform on iFundWomen.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! 💖
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