I didn't upload the duet because it is longer than a minute, but you are welcome to watch it (linked here). The description of the video reads, "Kiera Brinkley, a quadruple amputee, and her sister Uriah Boyd perform SOAR, choreographed by Melissa St. Clair. Clips from the duet appear in a documentary of the same name that follows these two beautiful young women as their paths pull them in opposite directions." The documentary site includes even more information if anyone would like to follow up on that (linked here)
This image is a screencap from a duet, but I will talk about the duet and the screencap a little together. My comments don't necessitate watching the clip though. The image is of two black women dancing on a stage, black and not visible but for the spotlights on the two of them. Both of them are in motion - in the midst of a spin. Brinkley sits in the floor while Boyd sits in a chair that spins and is on wheels.
I screencapped this particular part of the duet because the video shows the two women essentially performing the same/similar acts, something that the whole duet features. Also while watching the whole duet, I noted that Boyd probably spends more time in the spinning chair, which is important in a way I discuss later...
To me, I saw the spinning chair almost like a mobility aid, while Brinkley is centered on the stage. Brinkley uses a mobility aid outside of her performance I believe, but she isn't featured this way for the majority of the show and thus not in this picture. I think it's almost like a role reversal. Boyd is aided to move more like her disabled sister. But also, to me it made me ask several questions about how I and others might percieve this. What does it mean to dance? Is Boyd "less" of a dancer for using a mobility aid on stage?
This duet made me think of Eli Clare and his mountain climbing. He described himself as having a supercrip within himself in a way that he can be displayed as "overcoming" his disability, and that a part of him wants to exceed expectations, but on the whole he thinks the idea should be killed. I think that this duet finds a similar sort of middle ground; the sisters are equally featured and it isn't about overcoming disability but for Brinkley and Boyd to both have similar ways of moving and dancing.
I think this is also important because it features two black women, and black women are an underrepresented and misunderstood population. In "Picturing People with Disabilities", Garland-Thomson touches on the importance of multicultural and varied representations of disabled people. Also discussed is authority and pose; Brinkley puts herself center stage in the spotlight and forces us to watch her dance and move just as her sister does. This particular pose I've screencapped involves a different spin than most dancers might be used to, but she is still put out on stage and is definitey graceful.
Now, I want to also briefly comment on something that happens later in the duet that I think is really important. This is an aside, I guess, to my posting since this doesn't focus on the screencap.
There is a point in the duet that Brinkley gets onto Boyd's back, and Boyd walks her to the chair and runs her around. The first time I watched it, that part seemed a little disconnected. The two of them aren't moving in time or in similar ways. But I think that is like a comment on how Brinkley does sometimes want/need help but that doesn't make her any less of a dancer or make it any less major as part of her life. It was just something that I thought was really cool and I probably could have made a completely separate post on just that one part as well.