Dan Daw appears nude, brightly lit, slowly winding his pale, taut body across the floor to a ceramic teapot and cups. It’s January and he is performing in a solo dance show for Sydney Festival. “Some things he shares with the audience are very raw, very deep, and very engaging,” says Philip Channells, an early mentor of Daw’s. “Without a doubt, he had perseverance and tenacity. He was inquisitive and was just destined to be doing what he is doing.”

Daw, 34, had to be tenacious. Born with cerebral palsy in Whyalla, South Australia, he would find that as an artist who happened to have a disability he eventually had to move to the UK to build a career. He’s not alone. Marc Brew, 40, trained with the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne and suffered massive internal injuries at age 20 in a car crash, leaving him paralysed from the chest down. Brew then built a career in the UK, embedding disability arts access into his creative process at the dance company he founded in Glasgow: his wheelchair became part of his act. Last year, Brew took up the role of Artistic Director at AXIS Dance Company in Oakland, California,...

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