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Donna’s past could help others

A CHICHESTER dancer involved in a terrible car accident has created a series of workshops focused on cultivating resilience to stress.

 

Donna Fallowes, a professional dancer, was aged 19 when she was involved in a freak road traffic accident and suffered an open fracture of her left leg.

 

She was in hospital for a long time and spent some months in a wheelchair and a year on crutches.

 

Donna hoped her bones would heal naturally. One did but the other didn’t and she eventually had to have an operation for a metal plate and pins to be inserted into her leg.

 

She said: “Out of adversity sometimes great things can be birthed, and my story is an example of that I suppose.

 

“I rose up from the ashes of my experience and founded an inclusive arts organisation called Emerge.

 

“I had gained an empathy and understanding of what it feels like to be wheelchair-bound, seen as disabled, and I had a strong desire to change people’s perceptions about disability.

 

“I wanted to provide a platform through the arts where abilities and not limitations could be recognised, and to offer an inclusive learning environment.”

 

Donna has been the creative director of Emerge for over 18 years and there came a time when she said she needed to just ‘emerge’ again herself.

 

“What called me was the world-renowned expressive arts approach called the Tamalpa Life/Art process, incorporating dance, drawing, creative writing embodied mindfulness and dialogue.”

 

The Tamalpa Institute was founded 1978 by Daria and Anna Halprin. Donna said she saw value in how it could support her work with communities as we face the challenge of mental health issues, loneliness and isolation.

 

Anna Halprin is a famous performance artist and creator of dance for social change, and at 97, she is still teaching and creating.

 

“The first time I saw Anna (she was 94) she literally took my breath away, as I watched her walk down the 50 something steps from her house in the woods above to meet us on the dance deck surrounding the Californian redwood trees below.

 

“I’m saddened by the loneliness people are experiencing in our society and my work aims to connect people with their community. I believe that we didn’t get born to just survive I’m interested in supporting people and societies to thrive together.”

 

Donna is holding Emerge2LifeUK workshops – Cultivating Resilience to Stress in 21st Century on March 23, 24, and 30 in East Wittering.

 

“I’d like people to not just experience a workshop but to take away some tools to be able to use on a daily basis to help them navigate life’s twists and turns with greater ease.”

 

The workshops will be particularly useful for anyone suffering from stress or anxiety.

 

To find out more, email: emerge2life.uk@gmail.com or phone Donna on 07838889187.

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