U.S.-Supported “Unlimited Movement” Project Showcases Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities

Over the past year, the “Unlimited Movement” project sought to demonstrate what can be achieved through the power of social inclusion by using dance, performance, and film. The three-pronged program began with a flashmob of professional and amateur dancers, some of whom had disabilities, on the steps of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in October 2016. “Bringing together dancers – some with physical disabilities, others without – reinforced what we can all achieve when we accept and respect one another and work together in an inclusive manner,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., who hosted a reception celebrating the completion of “Unlimited Movement” on March 6, 2017.

The second part of “Unlimited Movement” was a short documentary which premiered in December 2016 at the Armenian General Benevolent Union in Yerevan. It told the story of the Centaur Association of Animal Therapy and Equestrian Sports, a facility unique in the region which specializes in using animals to provide therapy for people living with disabilities.

And the most recent element of “Unlimited Movement” was an inclusive dance performance that was staged at the Goy Theater on February 24 and 25. In this performance, dancers of all abilities and ages took the stage together for a two-part production, the first a modern interpretation of the society’s struggle with social inclusion, and the second a charming adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland.”

“Unlimited Movement” was conceived and implemented by a group of U.S. exchange program alumni who received funding through the U.S. State Department’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Grant. The team heading “Unlimited Movement” included Arina Araratyan, Shoghakat Galstyan and Artur Sahakyan, alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program; Tsolak Mlke-Galstyan, an alumnus of the Community Connections Program; and Hayk Vardanyan an alumnus of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program. In his remarks, the Ambassador applauded their commitment to the project, and also praised the dedication of the dancers and their parents, as well as the other many individuals who provided support for the project.