The DanceAbility International community is mourning the loss of our beloved Board of Directors President, Steve Christiansen. Steve passed away quietly in his home on July 17, 2020.
Steve enjoyed a rich and full life. His inquisitive and empathetic nature led him into a life as a videographer, a documentarian among his peers changing the world. And through the proliferation and ultimately international distribution of his work, he became one of the world’s quiet changemakers.
Steve and Alito met in the early 1970’s when they both became involved in the pioneering work of Steve Paxton, and his new dance form, Contact Improvisation. Steve toured with Steve and documented the work. Steve Christiansen’s videos of Paxton’s work created enthusiasm for it around the world.
In the 1980’s, Alito began employing the principles of Contact Improvisation to create a world where all people, regardless of ability or disability, could connect and communicate through dance. In 1987, both Steve and Alito found themselves living in Eugene, Oregon. It was in 1988 that Steve filmed the first documentary of one of the first DanceAbility workshops entitled “Common Ground “. This documentary spread around the world and helped establish DanceAbility and the DanceAbility Method’s importance to the world of Dance. As Alito grew DanceAbility International and made its home base in the city of Eugene, Steve continued to support DanceAbility.
In the 2000’s Steve accepted Alito’s invitation to join the Board of Directors of DanceAbility. As a Board member, and later as President of the Board, Steve helped guide DanceAbility’s growth into the preeminent organization working in the field of inclusive dance. Through the work of Steve and others, DanceAbility was recognized in 2019 by the Essl Foundation’s Zero Project Impact Transfer awards as one of the top eleven organizations internationally working to create a world with zero barriers for those with disabilities.
“In working with Steve on executive matters of DanceAbility, he was a listener, a strategist, a big picture thinker, and always supportive. Kindness was one of his superpowers.” Connie Vandarakis, executive board member.
Steve Christiansen 1948-2020
To Our Amazing DanceAbility Community
We hope you are all staying safe during these unusual times. At DanceAbility, we are working hard to adjust to these ever-changing circumstances. Due to the nature of our work, all of our scheduled events and classes had to be cancelled or postponed. To make up for the lost income we need YOUR help! Please make a donation today so we can continue with our mission of bringing people together once this has passed! We can't wait for the day we can be together again and share our work with you, and we thank you for all of your continued support.
“I believe that DanceAbility® goes beyond movement exploration and is, for many people their
first opportunity to define themselves in their own terms and see that this dance form,
like their lives, has many options and possibilities.”
- Susan Sygall,
Executive Director, Mobility International U.S.A.
DanceAbility International’s mission is to dissolve barriers and connect people with and without disabilities through dance and movement. This mission is accomplished through classes, workshops and events for adults and children, performances, teacher trainings and educational materials for teachers of inclusive dance.
The work of Joint Forces Dance Company creates inclusive communities through dance.
The DanceAbility® Method
DanceAbility International's biggest contribution to shifting the culture of dance is the award-winning and world-renowned DanceAbility method and curriculum. DanceAbility method trainings happen all over the globe. DanceAbility was recently recognized as a global innovator for inclusion by the Zero Project, presenting at the United Nations building in Vienna. Click the link to read more.