Maggie Bridger | Scale

Event Type
Event Description

Limited capacity. Advanced registration is required.
Masking is required for this performance.

Using the pain scale as a primary source material, Scale places medicalized methods of quantifying pain in conversation with alternative ways of reading and attending to pain emerging from the disability community, ultimately proposing new ways of caring for the bodymind in dance. These complex interactions between medicalization, care, and community are explored through movement, video, and the use of access tools for both performers and audience members. Scale invites audience members to attend to their own embodied experience of the piece, offering pillows, blankets, and other care objects as tools for curating the way they engage with and experience the work. Scale poses questions around the ways that we perceive pain, ultimately reaching toward a more compassionate and disability-informed way of creating and performing dance.

Each performance is followed by a Crafting Care event that serves as a sort of informal “talk back” with some of the artists, as well as an opportunity to join in the crafting practice that informed much of the work of Scale. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own crafting projects, participate in a group embroidery project, or simply share space and chat about Scale in community with the artists and other audience members.


Performers: Maggie Bridger, Jordan Brown, Joán Joel, Alex Neil-Sevier, Robby Lee Williams
Costumes and Visual Art: Reveca Torres
Sound Design: Shireen Hamza
Crafters: Margaret Fink, Sandy Guttman, Alison Kopit, Ashley Miller
Access information

Access during the performance

Captions, American Sign Language, audio descriptions, opportunities to rest, and sensory notes are incorporated into the performance in ways that we hope generate a unique, thoughtful experience for each audience member. The methods we’re using to incorporate these elements into the performance are experimental and may differ from the ways these tools are encountered in other arts spaces. We are continuing to learn, develop, and experiment alongside our community and welcome feedback on these elements, particularly from members of the community that rely on these various tools to access performance.

COVID Protocols

Masking is required in the performance space. Mana Contemporary, though, is a shared building that does not require masking and there may be unmasked people outside of the performance space. You are welcome to bring your own mask or grab one of the high quality masks available to audience members in both adult and child sizes at the building’s entrance. All performers will be masked, though there is a moment in the work where performers layer masks one on top of the other, which may cause their masking to be less effective for a short period of time.

Arriving at Mana & Wayfinding

All audience members will enter the ramped entrance to Mana Contemporary located on the west side of the building near the Throop street entrance to the parking lot. Audiences will then be guided through the building to the performance space by the performers, two of whom use ASL and will be able to guide Deaf and hard of hearing audience members. The first 30 minutes of the performance time is dedicated to audience arrival and getting situated in the performance space, so there is no need to rush or worry about arriving precisely on time. There is time to rest, chat, and get settled.

A library around the corner from the performance space will be used as a “quiet space” that folks can use to get a break from the performance, if needed.

Access Tools and Sharing Space

The show runs about an hour and a half with the first half hour dedicated entirely to audience members arriving and getting settled for the performance. Upon entering the space, audience members will be offered access devices and care tools to help them feel as comfortable as possible throughout the performance. Some of the tools we have available are:

  • 4 blankets
  • 3 small weighted blankets
  • 9 pillows
  • 2 large beanbags
  • Yoga mats/exercise mats
  • Instant hot and cold packs
  • Stim tools
  • 3 ear defenders

In addition to these, you are very welcome to bring your own tools/devices. We invite you to move, stim, rest, and generally make yourself comfortable during the performance. Our tools/devices will be cleaned with scent-free detergent/cleanser between each performance.

We ask that audience members refrain from wearing any scented perfume, cologne, lotion, etc. However, Mana Contemporary is a shared space where tenants will sometimes burn incense or use other scented products. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a fully scent-free environment.

For any other questions or requests regarding accessibility accommodations, please contact HCL’s Accessibility Coordinator, Yolanda Cesta Cursach Montilla (

About Maggie Bridger

Maggie Bridger is a 2022 City of Chicago Individual Artist Program grantee and PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Disability and Human Development. She is a co-founder of the Inclusive Dance Workshop Series at Access Living, for which she and her project partner received a 2021 Chicago Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. She was part of the inaugural cohort of the Dancing Disability Lab at UCLA and serves on the planning committee for CounterBalance, Chicago's annual integrated dance concert.

Presented by High Concept Labs and the Monira Foundation in joint residency at Mana Contemporary.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts

Access is central to the creative process for Maggie; audio description, captioning, and other access tools are an essential aesthetic part of her making dance. In 2023 HCL expands its new partnership with Bodies of Work, a program of the Department of Disability Art, Culture and Humanities at University of Illinois-Chicago, to sustain Maggie’s development of Scale.

Special thanks to Synapse Arts for their support of this work.

Running Time
1 hour, 30 minutes
Dance Styles
Multi-Ability / Physically Integrated


High Concept Labs

2233 Throop St.
Chicago, IL 60608