Winter 2023 In Dance


NATALIA VELARDE: All right, let’s dive right into it. Tell me a little bit about yourself, what’s your background? NADIA ADAME: I come from Spain. As a child I studied classical ballet and flamenco at the Royal Conserva- tory of Dance and Drama in Madrid. At age 14, I had a car accident which left me with a spinal cord injury. The doctor said, “You can’t do this anymore. You can’t dance anymore. You have to find another career.” But I thought, “This is what I love doing, why do I need to find some- thing else?” I decided to choreograph my own show. Yes! A full show at 18 years old. Most of the performers were non-disabled dancers, people I knew from the conservatory. That’s when I started choreographing and pro- ducing my own work. We toured all over Spain. But Spain is one of those places where certain things need to move forward, and it was much more that way when I was younger. As a

NV: Ha! NA: And that was it. That’s how I started dancing for AXIS. It was amazing to me to see people in wheelchairs performing on stage. People like me! I had the opportunity to work with prominent choreogra- phers such as Stephen Petronio, Bill T. Jones, and Sonya Delwaide. My entire world just opened up. It was possible. The dream I had been dreaming became real. It was a great experience. After that I went to Spain because of family things. My grandfather was very sick and I wanted to spend his last months with him. So my partner,

of theater for 4 years. It gave me the opportunity to learn so much about acting, performing, and a lot of the technical aspects. But it also felt like a missed opportunity because I wasn’t dancing full time. Some pro- fessors allowed me into their course so I was able to do some dancing. After graduating, I reached out to about twenty dance companies because that’s what I really wanted to do. Out of all those companies, only one replied, AXIS Dance Company. Judith Smith, AXIS artistic director at the time, wrote back asking if I could come to Oakland and audition for them.

who is a theater director, and I went back and we started a company there. We wanted to introduce this idea of integration; fully-abled performers as well as ones with disabilities together, on stage and engaged in artistic work. We did both theater and dance. We had the company for 10 years, but working in Spain was hard. NV: What were some of the challenges you encountered running an integrated dance company in Spain? NA: Finding funding was hard. We tried applying for government grants because the role of foundations is very different over there. Generally

disabled young person there was nowhere for me to go to continue studying dance. I felt like I couldn’t grow, there was no role model for someone like me. NV: Is that when you came to the US? NA: Yes, I came to the US to study and improve my English. However, my main goal was to get a degree in dance, but the dance department at University of Colorado did not accept me because of my disability. I decided to apply for the theater department and they took me in. It was a very good thing for me, I got to immerse myself in the world


in dance WINTER 2023 30

WINTER 2023 in dance 31

In Dance | May 2014 |

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