Making a difference with the Open Floor International Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Scholarship fund.
Simone simply wouldn’t have been able to participate in the Open Floor Teacher Training without access to a scholarship.
She spends the majority of her days providing a safe and calm space for her daughter to be home schooled and develop her life skills and identity as an autistic person, while also supporting her mother, recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, to maintain as much independence as possible.
Simone lives in Port Fairy, a small costal hometown of 3,500 people, four hours’ drive from Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. She returned ‘home’ following the death of her Dad in late 2019 and has since grown and nurtured a dance community, because there was no avenue for conscious dance when she arrived.
She says “We are living in such a complex moment in time politically, environmentally and socially. There is so much disconnection, misinformation and isolation. Dance provides a safe enough space to move with all of this, and even be resourced enough to share differences without falling apart as a community. Offering Open Floor classes, she says, provides the opportunity for students to
“explore what it means to be in a body and to be human, to witness each other more deeply, and to be resourced enough to walk with kindness and courage in the world.”
Simone is inspired by the Movement Resource of Vector – the ability to move with intention towards our goals. There are many obstacles on Simone’s path. She says, “One may not look at me and immediately think of Vector, but it doesn’t always look linear, and we don’t all start in the same place. My recent path has involved grief and loss and burnout. I am navigating neurodiversity, family responsibilities, poverty. I haven’t come from a traditional dance background.
For me Vector is: “step by step, day by day, in the right direction”. Most of the time I am navigating my own challenges and responsibilities that are mostly invisible. Sometimes I waver, sometimes I go off course, but I keep going because I believe passionately in what I do.”
In the future, Simone sees herself developing a business where she will offer any combination of dance, guided autobiography and grief work. She hopes to work with people who have experienced trauma, who are neurodiverse, and potentially work with other not for profit organisations or within the education or justice systems. This will allow her to utilise her background in mental health and community services.
“This scholarship has provided an opportunity to do something I really love and believe in. I have grown so much. It is my hope to build a working life for myself that will provide me with enough flexibility for me to work around my caring responsibilities. I will be forever grateful Open Floor and my community for supporting me”.