At Full Circle 2015 Perspectives, the annual celebration of Matheny’s Arts Access Program, Dani Urso King will be performing in a dance she also choreographed. It’s called “Zip A Dee Doo Dah”, and she promises that, “It is like nothing you have ever seen before. It’s got a lot of zip to it.”
King, who will be 25 on October 20, was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, due to an accident at birth. She is non-verbal, but communicates via a Dynavox augmentative communications device. According to her mother Robin, Dani has always possessed “a can do attitude. She is a lightning bolt; nothing gets in her way, and she always finds new ways to shine. She really has no idea what the word disability means. She knows her body does not always work the way she would like, but that has never stopped her.”
Dani has always loved dance. “My favorite,” she says, “is The Nutcracker. I’ve seen it many times, and I love the Christmas Spectacular at Rockefeller Center because you can feel the music, and your body just moves.” When Dani was 14, she saw a performance by Kitty Lunn, a professional dancer who had become a paraplegic as the result of an accident. “She saw me in the audience, and, after her show, she brought me up and danced with me. I never thought I could do anything like dancing before that.”
Three years ago, Dani’s teacher at the Lakeview School in Edison, NJ, told her about Matheny’s Arts Access Program, which enables individuals with disabilities to fully express themselves in the creative arts. She looked the program up online, and, according to her mother, “She came home and told me she was going to Matheny.” Now, she says, “Thanks to Matheny, I can dance, create, and express myself through dance.” She is looking forward to Full Circle because “It is amazing to be part of something that has so many talented people with disabilities in it. We are all different, yet still part of a unique community that links us together. Shows like this make us the rule, not the exception we so often find ourselves in.” Dani also paints and will have three Munny doll designs as part of the Full Circle visual arts exhibit. (Munny dolls are small action figures with moveable joints).
Full Circle will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, November 7, in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center at Matheny. The visual arts exhibition, curated by Arts Access project and event coordinator Haeree Park will begin in the Arts Center gallery at 3 p.m. That will be followed by a multi-media stage presentation, produced by dance facilitator Heather Williams, that will feature original works in dance, drama, poetry, and creative writing.
Food and beverage sponsors are: Café Azzurro in Peapack; Gladstone Tavern in Gladstone; 3 West and Urban Table in Basking Ridge; cocoLuxe Fine Pastries in Peapack; and Village Office Supply in Somerset. Tickets to Full Circle are $40 and can be ordered by phone at (908) 234-0011, ext. 260; by email at email@example.com; or by registering online at events.matheny.org/FullCircle2015. All event proceeds will benefit the Arts Access Program at Matheny.