Dancing us to her song: Enabling Embodiment and Voicing Disability in Heather Rose's Dance Me to My Song

Catherine Simpson*, Nicole Matthews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In cultural texts, disabled people often function as an emblematic screen upon which non-disabled people's fears and anxieties are projected, rather than functioning as three-dimensional characters or representing disabled people's own experiences. Dance Me to My Song (hereafter Dance), is a rare exception. The film's star and co-author of its script, Heather Rose Slattery, who had cerebral palsy, did not want her film to be pigeonholed as a 'disability film'. Dance nevertheless demands that we reflect on normative and non-normative bodies and the politics of disability. In its exploration of the tensions between technology, embodiment, autonomy and intersubjectivity, Dance exceeds the (at times) utopian or programmatic accounts of cultural theory as well as the social model of disability. Reading the film only through the lens of 'social realism' and 'disability', however, limits the audience's depth of engagement with it. We argue that Dance, in its representation of romance, its use of time and its deployment of voice, should be resituated within the genre of the 'women's film'. In co-writing and performing in such an audacious film, Rose has managed to simultaneously politicise desire, normalise disability and, all the while, dancing us to her song.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Issue number72
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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