James Mounsey

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Artist Information

James Mounsey is a contemporary dancer and recipient of the 2024 Explore Fund for which he has partnered with fellow dancer, Tessa Lightowler.

Tessa has Down’s Syndrome, and with James will develop a new piece of work, ‘Saucy Syndrome’. This new work explores the social taboo around people with disabilities having dates, romantic relationships and sordid one-night stands.

“This idea will be explored through dance and physical theatre and we hope we will have the beginnings of something that will shake up society. We want to also better understand and develop inclusive practice and take what we learn from the project into our future practice.”¬†

James and Tessa met when dancing together at a local Bradford dance school and have since become close friends, with James caring for Tessa over the last 5 years. As a queer person, James relates to some of the taboos around his relationship that Tessa as a person with disabilities faces.

“Through Physical Theatre, Contemporary Dance, and speech we will start exploring how to work together to explore these topics and how we may begin to physicalise them to show the good the bad and the pressing reality of disabled and queer people in love.”

Beyond their creative development, James and Tessa will explore ways of creating a better understanding of inclusive practice to help others with disabilities access the arts. They hope to create an environment that will make participants feel comfortable, create an inclusive vocabulary, design exercises that will challenge people without alienating them or their disability, and devise a new fun and caring approach to teaching dance.

 

Dancers Jacob Edwards and Chasmine Fay photographed by Elly Welford
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