Diversely Typical hopes to raise awareness through dance about the effects of neurodiversity on behaviour.

A new dance show, which shines a light on neurodiversity, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to enable it to be performed on the Main Stage as part of this year’s hugely popular Science and the City festival.

Devised by Diane Portelli of Moveo Dance Company, Diversely Typical is a unique dance piece that has been choreographed to highlight every behavioural nuance of certain neurological disorders and so stop the stigma against the behaviour of those with neuroatypical brains.

In what will be a first for Science in the City, the piece will explore the natural variation in human genes known as neurodiversity, which results in conditions such as Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), among others.

“This campaign is about tolerance – that is, how we all need to embrace the concept of neurodiversity as opposed to believing neuroatypical people need to be cured,” explains Ms Portelli. “As the mum and a teacher who experiences lovely, intelligent children with neuroatypical brains, this project is truly meaningful. If successful, it could mean living in a place where acceptance and inclusion are the norm… one without the insidious judgement of peers and adults. Diversity needs to become the new norm!”

While half the funds required to propel this important and topical dance show to the Main Stage of this year’s Science in the City festival have been contributed by the festival itself, for the other half, Ms Portelli and the Moveo team have turned to crowdfunding. Through the launch of a campaign on local platform ZAAR, they hope not only to cover the remaining funds needed to produce the show, but also to reach a wider audience who may themselves be affected by the topic, including schools.

“We decided to meet with ZAAR for advice on how to build a crowdfunding campaign to collect the remaining funds we needed,” Ms Portelli continues. “Our preliminary meeting was extremely encouraging, with the ZAAR representatives explaining the process in detail. Making the final decision to build the campaign with their assistance was a no-brainer.”

Beyond the campaign’s funding target of €1,000, it already offers some stretch goals that would extend the reach of the show even further if achieved. If the campaign raises a total of €1,650, this will enable the show to be performed in a secondary school, while with total funding of €2,300 or more, the show could be performed in another school.

Together with The Malta Chamber of Scientists and ADHD Malta, Ms Portelli plans to launch Diversely Typical at the Science in the City Festival. Timed to coincide with European Researchers’ Night for one-night-only on 27 September, Malta’s Science and Arts Festival Science in the City is an annual event that transforms the city of Valletta with a fusion of science and art. The festival’s theme this year is The Science of YOU, making Diversely Typical the ideal show to headline this night of free family fun.

Those who contribute to the show’s crowdfunding campaign on ZAAR can also expect an extra reward beyond the satisfaction of supporting this important production. Depending on the amount donated, backers will receive one of an exclusive list of attractive rewards including thank you messages, official Facebook mentions, eco-friendly veggie bags, tickets to the popular Kids Dig Science event, and even a dance workshop with Moveo Dance Company.

Visitors are invited to see the Diversely Typical crowdfunding campaign on www.zaar.com.mt for more information and to make a donation.