What would dancers gain without sight?
The younger “School of Mystic Ballet" dancers began their first week of classes for their summer workshop on Monday, and I have the privilege of teaching this group of young students along with my original two upper level classes. There is one girl in this new class who has such fortitude and pluck that it baffles me every time I teach this level of ballet girls. This particular girl is blind. The trust in herself and in her own body is incredibly powerful, clearly visible for those of us who are witnessing her feat of grace.
Two summers ago I worked with Alex Ketley at San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. Notorious for his strange, yet impactful teaching style Alex taught me a couple things about being thankful and perpetually humble for the basic mechanics of my own body. One day Alex had us close our eyes for the entire class, an hour and a half class that included various improvisational exercises and choreographic explorations. In that short amount of time I stepped away knowing more about the way that my body moved an how it wanted to move, by allowing those stigmas attached with sight (ego, judgment, insecurity) to fall away. I felt that I had to close my eyes in order to express some internal monologue that I would not have felt remotely comfortable exuding with any person (even myself) watching.
While thinking about this super-girl ballet student and Alex’s class I found myself closing my eyes while on the sidelines of Gabrielle’s class today. Allowing myself to enter my own little world to feel and not think or judge with my other available sensations. I found that when I had to repeat phrase material in the center I was able to use this internal focus and exploration to better my understanding and confidence of the material and of my own artistic interpretation.
What would I do for a precious hour without sight?
What would you do for an hour without sight?