111 [S9 E6] A magnet pulling me out of darkness: thinking through my body into autistic expression
Topics in this episode: ADHD, Alexithymia, autism at work, burnout, employment, gifted, self expression, twice exceptional

Dana Michel is a live performance artist and choreographer in Montreal, Canada, where she creates experiences based on a mixture of improvisation, choreography, hip-hop, cinematography, techno, poetry and social commentary. Now 47, she self identified as autistic in 2020. She also has a diagnosis of ADHD.

Before graduating in Contemporary Dance in her late twenties, Dana was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player.

During her career as a performance artist she has received several awards, including an award for outstanding artistic accomplishments, the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance and an International Prize for Live Art. She has been highlighted among notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times, and was the first ever dance artist in residence at the National Arts Centre, Canada.

Dana is currently touring four solo performance works.

We talk about:

➡ Why ‘autism pants’ feel more comfortable to her than ‘ADHD pants’

➡ Her reaction to being diagnosed as ‘twice exceptional’ and ‘gifted’

➡ Needing people to believe and accept our autism

➡ Being in another world as a child, and struggling to fit into the professional world as an adult

➡ Burnout, and how Dana feels that she was saved from the professional grind by following her autistic joy, and how she’s found ways to overcome her feelings of not wanting to live in the world.

Content warning: Suicidal ideation

Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.

I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.

I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.



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