#Fun4thedisabled’s Vanessa Harris talks to Joseph Isaac Powell Main about his life as a para dancer.
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Joseph: I hadn’t seen myself as being able to do Ballet anymore since I had acquired my disability. As I hadn’t seen anyone else, like me performing ballet. It was great to see that it was still an opportunity for me and how I could approach ballet with the knowledge that I gained beforehand, but then also approach it in a new way, and see how I could explore that.
- The Beginning of Joseph’s Dancing Journey
Joseph: My parents used to say that even when I was a little baby, the music on the TV, you would see me sitting by the TV bouncing along. And so my mom just decided to take me and my sister to a modern dance class. And we really enjoyed it. And then the teacher said to my mom, “oh, well, why don’t you get both of them trying ballet?”
And so we did ballet as well. And then from there, it just carried on. I started dancing officially when I was five years old, and I danced all the way until I was about 14 years old when I had my problems, and everything with my injury, and I’d have to leave the Royal Ballet School because of that. And then I didn’t dance again for about two to three years. And then, since coming back to where I am taking it more seriously again and realize that I can still do it, and I want to do as well.
- Inspiration Came From both Able and Para Dancers
Joseph: Susie Birchwood, who is a differently abled classical dancer, and she guests with various different companies. She guest starred with Ballet Cymru, in 2014, and they had her dance in a couple of productions. And so they had some ideas of making ballet more inclusive and, and they told me all about her which was great and it just made me see that even though I had a disability, it was still possible for me to follow my original dream.
I also got to work with Crystal who’s a dancer with Ballet Cymru and she’d done a little bit of work with Suzie Birchwood from before. And we were able to adapt a version of a classical part of the ballet Giselle, which I then got to perform at the end of the week in front of my mom and the audience members. And then afterword, they actually put a snippet of the video on their YouTube Channel. Which again, was amazing. And even now I’m still in touch with Amy Doughty, the Assistant Director, because the company as a whole are really interested in getting a company member who is differently abled. And it’s definitely something that I really want.
- And from The Support of Family Like Joseph’s Grandfather
Joseph: I definitely think that I wouldn’t be in a position where I am without the support of my family. My mom literally drives me everywhere to make sure that I get the best training possible and really glad and thankful for that. And although my mom and my sister really helped me dance, I would say that my whole family my dad, my granddad are also really supportive of what I do. And my granddad especially is so proud because a lot of the time we will go to places, like say the theater and he will start having a conversation with a stranger and tell them all about me.
- The Future for Joseph…And Everyone Else
Joseph: Something else that really interests me is possibly becoming a director in a ballet company because I really feel that I could do some interesting things that will change the face of ballet.
If you’re passionate about dance and you want to do it, then you can. And I think with my social media posts, and I tend to try and get that message across with many hashtags like #ballet #paradancer and #differently-abled because I want to get people talking about it as much as possible.
I think as well, the reason I use social media so much is that I want to get the word out about inclusive dance because I really feel that in the past couple of years, and also since last November when the Candoco Dance Company performed on Strictly Come Dancing, it really opened people’s eyes to the fact that, you know, there’s not a stereotype of a person that can be a dancer. There’s many people that can be a dancer. And it doesn’t matter what you look like, whether you have a disability or not.
Here are Joseph Powell-Main’s social media handles:
Facebook – @Joseph Isaac Powell-Main
Instagram – @jpmissac1998
Instagram – @thewheelwarriors
Twitter – @joeychowmein1998
Twitter – @wheelwarriors2
Ballet Cymru www.welshballet.co.uk
Candoco Dance Company www.candoco.co.uk