Tatiana Cholewa nominated for Culture Personality of the Year

A dancer in a wheelchair smiles in an interview. She is wearing a beanie hat, black rimmed glasses, a black hoodie and a blue patterned scarf.

Polish disabled dancer Tatiana Cholewa has been nominated for Culture Personality of the Year by mainstream newspaper Dziennik Zachodni.

Tatiana has taken part in a number of Europe Beyond Access activities, both in Poland and internationally. She danced in workshops at Teatr ROZBARK with Instytut Muzyki i Tańca and British Council Poland, one of which was led by international performer, choreographer and Artistic Director Marc Brew. Following this, she was selected to take part in two international opportunities: the laboratory in Maastricht led by Adam Benjamin and Jeanefer Jean-Charles, and a residency in The Hague hosted by Holland Dance Festival.

This is what Tatiana had to say about the nomination:

Being shortlisted was a huge surprise to me, I am honoured to be appreciated as a person and as a dancer. Dance is my passion and whatever the circumstances, I do what I love and what allows me to communicate with the world. I do hope, however, that thanks to this nomination the community will start to more widely recognise dancers like myself.

I am so proud to have been able to participate in Europe Beyond Access; to me, it shows that despite the difficulties we face, we are appreciated by organisations which allows us to develop and make our mark in the dance world, in an international forum.

Being with dancers from other countries and working with world-class choreographers, I’ve had the chance to learn their dance histories and I see that in Poland there is still much work to be done in terms of increasing diversity on our stages.

I’ve also experienced models of approaching inclusive art which are used across Europe.

Taking part in this programme has allowed me to show that in Poland there are passionate people with non-normative bodies that want to make art and be taken seriously for it. I’ve had the chance to develop, but also to show my dance skills to a wider audience, which – I hope – will increase interest in inclusive dance and help share this creativity with larger audiences in Poland.

This said, it’s really not about me. I know there are many others, passionate and living in isolated areas with very few arts opportunities open to them. I’d like this nomination to become a “key to the door” in opening up opportunities and support for those people.

My wish is that in the future, proper opportunities are created for disabled dancers, so that they can fulfil themselves, that they receive support as cultural producers and that they are treated as equals and as professionals. I believe that this is the first step towards fulfilling my dreams of dialogue and collaboration with cultural institutions in Poland.”

Tatiana sits on the floor having removed a wheel from a wheelchair and spins it with a female Deaf dancer

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