23 August 2022 • Arts Disability Arts Ensemble Kinetic Light to Perform at HWS

As part of the company’s Fall 2022 East Coast tour, the internationally recognized disability arts ensemble Kinetic Light will perform on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Deming Theatre of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. The company is renowned as leaders in disability and dance. The performance is accessible and open to the public.

Working in the disciplines of art, technology, design and dance, Kinetic Light creates, performs and teaches at the nexus of access, queerness, disability, dance and race. The company is led by disabled artists; disabled artists create, design and perform the work, which speaks to and emerges from disability aesthetics and disability culture.

Laurel Lawson and Alice Sheppard of Kinetic Light will perform Under Momentum, a duet that celebrates the joys of continuous motion, the allure of speed and the beautiful futility of resisting gravity. Lawson and Sheppard, both wheelchair users, perform on a series of ramps designed by artist and design researcher Sara Hendren, creating a world of exhilaration.

Held in Deming Theatre, the performance will include accessible theater experiences through expanded accessible seating, accessible marketing, patron services and more. The performance will include haptic experience of the soundscape, ASL interpretation will be available before and after the performance, audio description through the Audimance app, accessible seating, tactile experiences, sensory kits, quiet space, and exit and entry welcome during performances.

Under Momentum premiered in 2018 and has been performed in its duet form at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Green Show (Oregon), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Massachusetts), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Forward Motion Festival (Florida), Atlanta Beltline (Georgia) and beyond.

Kinetic Light will be in residence on campus for the week prior: engaging with students and faculty, presenting workshops in access, technology and disability culture, and engaging with the regional disability community. The following week, Kinetic Light will perform at the University of Rochester on Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. at the Sloan Performing Arts Center.

“Laurel Lawson and I are so pleased to visit Rochester and Geneva, regions with such deep disability history and community. We are grateful to the Hobart and William Smith Colleges and University of Rochester for presenting Kinetic Light and welcoming us to campus. It will be a rich and exciting experience,” says Sheppard, founder and artistic director of Kinetic Light.

Tickets at HWS are $15 general public/free for HWS students. Tickets are available at the Gearan Center Box Office beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 3; subsidized tickets are available in advance by contacting Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams (315) 781-3495 or Williams@hws.edu. Masks and proof of vaccination are required. Ticket sales are cash or check only.

Lead support for Kinetic Light is provided by the Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Borealis Philanthropies’ Disability Inclusion Fund. The HWS presentation of Under Momentum is made possible in part by the Arts CONNECT program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the support of the New York State DanceForce, a NYSCA partner.


Founded by Alice Sheppard in 2016, Kinetic Light is a disability arts ensemble working at the intersections of disability, dance, design, identity and technology. Through nuanced investment in the histories, cultures, and artistic work of disabled and/or Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), the company promotes intersectional disability as a creative force and access as an aesthetic critical to creating transformative art and affirming the disability arts movement. Kinetic Light artists include Jerron Herman, Laurel Lawson, Michael Maag and Alice Sheppard.

Company member Lawson leads the development of artistically accessible approaches, software and products including Audimance, an app offering multiplex audio description experiences. Kinetic Light’s field-building and community work includes Access ALLways, a holistic approach to artistically equitable access; a fellowship program for disabled arts workers; events aimed at supporting U.S. disabled artists in their own art-making; and more.

Kinetic Light has been presented by the BRITT Music & Arts Festival, Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Jacob’s Pillow, MCA Chicago, New York Live Arts, Ferst Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center/Northrup, The Whitney Museum and The Wilson Center. The company has received funding from the Mellon Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, MAP Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the Arts, among others.

Tickets and information on the University of Rochester performance can be found here.

Photo: Jacob’s Pillow/Hayim Heron; On a wooden ramp with a curved 45 degree incline, Laurel Lawson wheels uphill to come nose-to-nose with Alice Sheppard. Kneeling, Alice grabs Laurel’s frame and stops her.