The initial thrill of being invited to be the GCTC dance-company-in-residence has only intensified over the past few weeks as Propeller has prepared for its debut performance in the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.
GCTC’s home is an exciting theatre space, with a superb cafe, varied art exhibits, an impressive mainstage, and a flexible studio. For those of us in wheelchairs, one feature in this vibrant, beautiful temple stood out on our first visit — the super accessible and clean washrooms.
During our first week at the theatre, Eric Coates, the artistic director, came to the studio and welcomed us. Equally impressive, over the next few days, the entire staff took the time to come up to meet us. I may not remember each one of their names, but I am sure none of us will forget the welcoming smiles, kind words, handshakes and hugs.
Creating in the black box studio is intense.The studio helps us get deep into our work; it is like being in a separate world. Sometimes we need to leave the intensity of creating in that world and step out into the light of the Lorraine Fritzi Yale Art Gallery. It is inspiring to come out from the studio to be bathed in warm light and stimulated by art. We always return to our work feeling refreshed, ready to create.
We feel we have begun to make real friends at the GCTC. This is because we were welcomed with respect, openness, and good will, all qualities we cherish and try to give back in all we do. As usual, I want to wow our audience, but this time there’s an additional hope – that everyone at GCTC who has welcomed us without reservation will be as thrilled with having us as we are about being here.
Liz Winkelaar has been a dancer in the Propeller Dance performing company since 2007. She has taught outreach workshops for Propeller, assisted with Propeller’s children’s program, and pioneered the Company’s seniors’ program. Having also studied disability art and culture at Carleton University, Liz believes that art can change perception, and is happy to be a part of a dance company that embodies her philosophy.