When the silence breaks a border on stage: A case study of a performance by the disabled dance and performance company the “Shizuoka No-Borders”

(1) * Mana Takahashi Mail (Kanda University of International Studies, Faculty of Global Liberal Arts, Japan)
*corresponding author


This research examines the potential of silence to function as a social action and the significance of the use of silence in art and cultural activities by people with disabilities. While silence can be a powerful tool for social action and communication, the silence created by people with disabilities has different connotations. Such people occasionally have problems with communication and improvisation due to their disabilities, possibly leading to unintentional silence. This research analyses the artwork produced by the dance and performance company the “Shizuoka No-Borders,” whose membership includes people with disabilities. The principal research question is as follows: what messages does the silence created by performers with disabilities in their artwork convey to audiences? This research adopts a variety of approaches but primarily conducts qualitative analysis from an empirical perspective. By exploring the current situation of performers with disabilities in Japan as well as their tangible works and scenes featuring “making silence,” this research uses interviews with performers, choreographers, producers, and related stakeholders in Japan to analyse the impact of silence as social action and offer suggestions concerning the effectiveness of promoting diversity and inclusion in education via silence.


Performing arts; Disabled performance; Inclusive society; Regional revitalization; Diversity




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