HopePunk and Burlesque Dance
Date: April 26, 2023
Cinematic portrayals of disabled characters keep perpetuating stories which equate disability to death wishes, whether it is a bigger film production like Francois Ozon’s Everything Went Fine (2021) or a smaller one like Tim True’s Here Awhile (2019/20). The disabled Burlesque artist Jacqueline Boxx aka Miss Disa-burly-TEASE points out that the equation of unbearable pain and disability does not only take place in fiction, but on all levels of everyday life (EROSS@DCU). Her signature act at the “Burlesque Hall of Fame” therefore contrasts real-life comments and slurs such as “You just don’t look very disabled.”, “How did you break yourself?”, “You used to be so much fun.”, “Don’t let it affect you so much.” or “Losing weight will fix it.”(„JACQUELINE BOXX“), voiced either by non-disabled people or disabled people who have internalized ableism (Cf. EROSS@DCU), with a powerful Burlesque dance performance which celebrates mobility aids and the disabled body and radiates joie de vivre and brings about agency.
Discussing Boxx’s signature act by drawing on Robert McRuer’s concept of “compulsory able-bodiedness” (McRuer 2013) and Elizabeth Ellcessor’s and Bill Kirkpatrick’s “disability perspective” (Ellcessor/Kirkpatrick 2019: 140) enables us to discuss the subversive potential of HopePunk. Consequently, it will show how Boxx empowers ‘new voices’ and helps change ‘struggles over power and privilege’ (Ellcessor/Kirkpatrick 2019: 140) not only by insisting on her artistic freedom to express and embrace her disabled body through dance practice, but by opposing the idea that professional dance practice has to be painful and exclusive.
About the Speaker
Dr. Petra Anders is a research assistant at the University of Bamberg, Germany. Since 2022, she is a member of the jury of the prestigious Grimme-Preis. She is also a founding member of the journal‚ Including Disability which was launched in April 2022 and acts as a consultant for film productions regarding the cinematic representation of disability.
As a disabled academic, she focuses on different aspects of the cinematic representation of disability as well as disability studies, gender, and inclusion. Her research draws on the belief that differences should not only be recognized but accepted. Most recent publications include the chapter „Tarnation und Requiem revisited. Filmische Darstellungen von psychischer Gesundheit aus Sicht der Disability Studies.“ [Tarnation and Requiem revisited. Cinematic Representations of Mental Health from the Perspective of Disability Studies] in „Kopf/Kino. Psychische Erkrankung und Film“ [Mind/Screen. Mental Illness and Film], edited by Tobias Dietrich and Winfried Pauleit.