One of the best parts about movement is the power it has to transform people’s lives both mentally and physically. We are fortunate enough to see this transformation happen first hand in our various communities across the country. Former EDN! teaching assistant, Paris Cullen, uses her passion for movement to connect with others in a way that is nothing short of innovative and inspiring.
Paris is a dancer who started working as a teaching assistant for EDN! Santa Barbara in 2017. While studying at UC Santa Barbara, she focused primarily on modern dance, but also found passion in studying various street dance forms, specifically bgirling (breaking). Even after a long day of taking modern and ballet, assisting for EDN!, and rehearsing with her performance company, Paris found time to train with the local breaking crew, UCSBreakin’. She now resides in New York where she is not only pursuing her own dance career, training in various street dance styles, and performing with companies such as Emotions Physical theater, Josh Pacheco Dance Theater, and Reaction Dance Co NYC, but she is also working in Conductive Education (CE).
CE is, “a comprehensive method of learning by which individuals with neurological and mobility impairment learn to specifically and consciously perform actions that children without such impairment learn through normal life experiences” (CerebralPalsy.org).
Paris started working with a young woman named Jenny a few months ago. Jenny was born with a rare motor disorder of neurological origin called incontenta pigmenti (IP). Paris uses her training in CE to help Jenny incorporate as much movement into her daily routine as possible, including a series of movement therapy activities focused on building strength, coordination, and flexibility. Through working with Jenny, Paris has learned how fundamentally important moving the body is to foster our ability to care for ourselves, and heal. Together they have found a way to use movement to learn, grow, and find joy when spending time with one another.
Movement has so much potential to push people to new boundaries, and to connect a community on a deeper level. It is inspiring to hear stories like Paris and Jenny’s who are pushing those boundaries together, and sharing such transformative experiences. Do you know someone like Paris who is making moves and making waves in their community? Let us know, we’d love to share their story!