photo by York Wilson Photography

Sunday, March 12, 2006

 

Dancing while blind

Yesterday I performed at a student hafla in Raleigh. This being a relatively low-key performance for me, I didn't look in a mirror to check my makeup before going onstage. I was wearing my glasses to see the performances before our class (Nandana's intermediate skirt choreography class <3) went on, and, of course, I forgot to remove them. (Major faux pas.) I didn't even realize they were still on my face until I looked out at the audience (all of 10 feet away from us) and thought, "Wow, I can see everyone really well! OH CRAP! MY GLASSES!" Actually, it felt great. I could really connect with the audience and see how they were responding to the dance in a way I haven't been able to for a while.
I don't wear contacts because I am afraid of sticking something in my eye. (I know, how childish.) My vision without glasses is bad but not awful, but I think it's enough to detract from my performances and it seems to be getting worse over time. At TribalCon, I couldn't see faces in the audience at all. While performing, I concentrate almost entirely on the music and so it's hard for me to hear verbal feedback from the audience unless everyone is yelling at once, so without faces on your audience it's hard not to wonder "am I doing okay? I can't tell!" I took my glasses off in my car before my first class at the YMCA last week and I couldn't see the faces of my students in the second row! I thought one student was glaring at me a few times, and she wasn't. How embarrassing. I won't do that again.
I'm sure some people would rather not see their audience so they can 'trance out' as they dance-- I guess these dancers are more internal than I am. I think my visual alienation from the audience translates into unease which then translates into nervousness (also known as the LAST thing you want to project to your audience). An audience member at TribalCon told me I looked nervous. (nooo!) I'm sure I did, because I was totally disoriented!! No contacts no glasses might work at Blue Moon haflas at the Solution Center where my audience is a yard away from me, but it's not cutting it anymore for stage shows. So, I guess, in addition to all of the multiple hundreds of dollars I've been spending on costumes, music, instruction, and transportation lately, I need to get myself some contacts to stick in my eyes.
Oh, how we suffer for our art.

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