The Empowered Fe Fes of Access Living and Blushing Poppy Dance Club have collaborated to choreograph “Believe Your Beauty,” a dance performance that will be showcased at Access Living on November 16th. Directed by Nicole LeGette, the Butoh-styled dance, which uses rigorous and expressive body movement, wishes to demonstrate the contrast between one’s beliefs about inner beauty and how society views them. According to Fulani Thrasher, Access Living’s Interim Girls Coordinator, this group recognizes that society already devalues women in general, but women with disabilities struggle to face these hardships even more so. These pressures from society negatively impact a woman’s self image and ability to see herself as beautiful, therefore this dance group was organized in response to societal pressures—to give women the chance to strengthen their confidence in front of people, and to instill a more positive self image within them, making them believe in their true beauty.
This photo is of the “Believe Your Beauty Flyer,” with an image of several dancers and logistical information about the event.
Nicole LeGette is both a performer and a Butoh instructor around the Chicago-land area, and has received many awards and grants for her work. She has trained with expert Butoh instructors in various countries including Japan, Mexico, and Canada. In addition to being a solo performer, Nicole has been holding workshops out of her company, Blushing Poppy, that are centered on the art of Butoh, since 2004.
The Empowered Fe Fes, an organizing group for young women with disabilities, has been hard at work since October 15th, practicing on average four to five times a week for about two hours. They noticed that since day one of practice, many of the women had little to no idea what Butoh dancing even was, let alone what they were going to get out of it. Since then, the group has reported strong evidence of progress among these women. These women are displaying a lot of energy and interest in the program and are eager to show off all they have worked so hard for. Both Christina Tollivera and Shelby Cain have been Fe Fes for about 4 years. Christina describes the Empowered Fe Fes as a “very inspiring group to her.” When asked what “Believe Your Beauty” meant to her, Christina said “It means that you are beautiful no matter what.” Shelby Cain says that being part of “Believe Your Beauty” makes her feel proud of herself, and when asked what she hopes the audience takes away, Shelby replied: “I want people to think I was brave enough to do this on my own. I want them to think I am beautiful.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about The Empowered Fe Fes or the Blushing Poppy Dance Club are invited to attend a preview performance on either Friday, November 9th or Saturday, November 10th at the Fasseas Whitebox Theater at the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls, at 8 PM. The group will be holding their debut performance on Friday, November 16th on Access Living’s 2nd Floor at 6 PM. The group is very excited about the chance to showcase all they have learned, and hopes that the audience will walk away with a new perspective on disability, dance, and beauty.
Submitted by Breana Drozd, Public Relations Intern