News / Announcements

Dark Room Ballet at “Eco Somatic readings, conversations and movement” (April 26th at 6 PM EDT)

You are invited to join tonight’s:

Eco Somatic readings, conversations and movement centering disability and LGBTIQA+ ecologies of pain and joy with the environment.

Featuring Stephanie Heit, Petra Kuppers, Krishna Washburn, Taja Will, and moira williams.

Where: Online Zoom Meeting

Zoom Registration link: Eco Somatic Registration April 26th

Access Menu:

  • Access Doula
  • Participation Guide
  • AI Captioning + ASL

Please contact for more accessibility information requests and needs

Flyer Image Description: A tree filled image with a close up of two trees and their large textured bark. Between the two trees a hand from the forearm down and palm forward spreads its fingers. It looks like a ghost hand that is filled with the surrounding forest life. The entire background image is heavily saturated with almost neon reds, pinks, yellows, blues, greens and purples. On top of the glowing forest is white text saying: Eco Somatic readings and conversations: disability ecologies of pain and joy with the environment. Stephanie Heit, Petra Kuppers, Krishna Washburn, Taja Will, moira williams. Online April 26th 6-8pm EST/5-7pm CT/3-5pm PST. Access Menu: Access Doula, Participation Guide, AI Captioning.


Stephanie Heit is a queer disabled poet, dancer, teacher, and co director of Turtle Disco, a somatic writing space on Anishinaabe land in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She is a Zoeglassia Fellow, and the author of PSYCH MURDERS (Wayne State University Press, 2022) and The Color She Gave Gravity (Operating System, 2017). Stephanie is an active member of the Olimpias; an international disability performance collective. She co-directed the Asylum Project (2015-2019); an experimental and community practice investigation into the many meanings of asylum. Stephanie is bipolar, a mad activist, and a shock/psych system survivor. Link to Stephanie’s website is HERE.

Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a disability culture activist, a wheelchair dancer, and a community performance artist. Petra grounds herself in disability culture methods. She uses eco somatics, performance, and speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. She has been engaged in community dance and disability culture production since the late 80s. She continues to lead workshops internationally, in these forms as well as in disability-culture adapted social somatics. She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and co-creates Turtle Disco, a somatic writing studio, with her wife, poet and dancer Stephanie Heit, from their home in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on Three Fires Confederacy Territory, colonially known as Ypsilanti, Michigan. A link to Petra’s website is HERE.

Krishna Christine Washburn is artistic director and instructor for Dark Room Ballet, and co-directed the Telephone Film. She has an M.Ed. from Hunter College, BA from Barnard College, and is certified by the ACSM in biomechanics. She speaks regularly on self-audio description and educating blind/visually impaired dance students. A link to Krishna’s website is HERE.

Taja Will is a non-binary, chronically ill, queer, Latinx (Chilean) adoptee. They are a performer, choreographer, somatic therapist, consultant and Healing Justice practitioner based in Mni Sota Makoce, on the ancestral lands of the Dakota and Anishinaabe. Taja’s approach integrates improvisation, somatic modalities, text and vocals in contemporary performance. Their aesthetic is one of spontaneity, bold choice making, sonic and kinetic partnership and the ability to move in relationship to risk and intimacy. Will’s artistic work explores visceral connections to current socio-cultural realities through a blend of ritual, dense multi-layered worldbuilding and everyday magic. A link to Taja’s website is HERE.

moira williams is a disabled Indigenous artist, cross disability cultural activist/organizer and access doula; co-creating and weaving disability justice together with crip celebratory resistance and environmental justice. moira believes in access as art and “access intimacy” as an attitude needed to push beyond the limitations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their often co-creative work leads with disability, stemming from the understanding that deep-rooted cultural changes must be made in arts and environmental spaces and practices to become accessible. One part of affecting change is by placing disabled artists and activists in positions of influence to shape culture from within. Another part is acknowledging that entering positions of power is not the end goal. Instead, the end goal is to co-create an active culture where power positions no longer exist. moira’s on-going work with water focuses on access intimacy and water intimacy as ways forward to accessible waterways and joy. A link to moira’s website is HERE.

News / Announcements

Tickets available for VIRTUAL Telephone Film Screening at the EstroGenius Festival on Sunday, April 23rd at 7 PM (Eastern Time)

The next screening of the Telephone Film  will be taking place online at the EstroGenius Festival on Sunday, April 23rd at 7 PM (Eastern Time)

As a member of the wider Dark Room Ballet community, we would like to invite you to this virtual screening (completely online) hosted by the EstroGenius Festival 2023, which describes the event as follows:

Telephone Film, co-directed by choreographer/filmmaker Heather Shaw and Dark Room Ballet Founder Krishna Washburn, is a disability arts film project that promotes radical arts inclusivity by bringing awareness to audio description for dance, an art form that allows blind and visually impaired people to be fully included in the joy of artistic expression. Telephone advocates for a new paradigm of anti-ableist artistic expression by showcasing audio description as an art form in its own right, while also providing an immersive sensory experience of dance for audience members of all sight levels. The screendance documentary is the first of its kind, featuring diverse disabled and non-disabled artists who have come together to prove that: dance is visceral, not merely visual. Join us to experience the forty-five minute film, followed by a talkback with the co-directors. The conversation will center around accessible art, creative choreographic/filmmaking methodologies, and the future of anti-ableism in the arts.

This event will include Audio Description and American Sign Language.

To attend this virtual film screening:

Tickets are available on a sliding scale, which means you can pay any amount to attend.

Once you purchase a ticket online, you will receive a confirmation from the EstroGenius Festival that will include a Zoom link to attend the event, as well as access to the Telephone FilmGoer Guide online.

Buy tickets at the link:

Ticket Link for Telephone Screening at EstroGenius Festival

Please note:

  • This event will begin at 7:00 PM (Eastern/New York Time) and will end at 8:30 PM in-person and online.

  • If you need accessibility assistance with ticket purchases, let us know and we will do our best to help.

    • For other questions regarding the event or the EstroGenius Festival, contact the festival directly at:

  • This event will not be recorded.  If you cannot attend this screening, there will be future screening events that you will be able to join! 

More information on future screenings will be available in the coming weeks and months, and we will keep you updated as it becomes available.

Thanks for your support of Dark Room Ballet and the Telephone Film!

News / Announcements

REMINDER: Pro Class Starts on April 15th!

Hosted by Movement Research, Dark Room Ballet classes are designed specifically for the educational needs of blind and visually impaired adults (though all are welcome).

NOTE: This is a FREE class, but donations are welcomed.

Dark Room Ballet Pro Class

Saturdays, April 15 – June 3, 2023

4 PM to 5:30 PM (Eastern / New York Time)

This workshop is offered online via Zoom – participants can attend any sessions.

To register, please email: and let us know which sessions you would like to attend

Who can take Dark Room Ballet Pro Class? 

If you have been studying in Dark Room Ballet Open Level class regularly, and feel confident in your use of tape for orientation and your basic ballet vocabulary, you can take Dark Room Ballet Pro Class.

If you are a blind or visually impaired professional or pre-professional dancer, or a blind or visually impaired dancer who regularly studies in ballet classes designed for sighted people, you can take this class.

If you aren’t sure if you’re ready, ask Krishna during Question and Answer time in Monday night Open Level class (odds are, if she recognizes your voice before you self-identify, she will say yes). If you’ve never taken Open Level, please come! This is a low support class. That means you will not receive a vocabulary email the night before, and the descriptions Krishna uses will rely more heavily on vocabulary than anatomical words.

What is the format of Dark Room Ballet Pro Class? 

There is a five-part barre and a two-part center, plus a ten-to-fifteen-minute lecture on how to apply blind-specific dance techniques to advanced ballet techniques. As always, there is Question and Answer time.

Here’s a list of the weeks and the lecture topics:

Session One (4/15): Fifth Position and the Challenges Maintaining Bilateral Symmetry.

Session Two (4/22): Grand Plie — Why?

Session Three (4/29): Strategies for Maximizing Balance in Center Adagio.

Session Four (5/6): Inside and Outside Turns for Dancers That Don’t Spot.

Session Five (5/13): Traveling Turns for Dancers That Don’t Spot.

Session Six (5/20): Flow State and Petite Allegro.

Session Seven (5/27): Grand Allegro and Orientation.

Session Eight (6/3): Blind Dancers, Artistic Identity, and the Difference Between Bravado and Brio.

What makes Dark Room Ballet Pro Class different from Dark Room Ballet Open Level Class?

Krishna says…

1. There is a greater assumption of prior knowledge. In addition to the assumption that students will know the complete vocabulary set of Dark Room Ballet Intro, students should also recognize the following ballet vocabulary terms: pas de cheval, penche and fondu penche, sous-sous, grand battement, glissade, jete, assemble, temps levee, fouette tendu and fouette degage, couru, detournet, soutenou, pique step, faille, developpe through passe, and should be comfortable combining promenade with other movements. 

2. The mark for the exercise is quicker. In Open Level class, we mark by practicing a complete side of the exercise at a tempo that is similar to the music. In Pro Class, the mark is much more minimal. If the pattern is en croix or through alternating legs, the pattern might not be marked at all! You might find that the exercises in Pro Class are not actually more difficult than those in Open Level, but they require you to use your logical thinking more and your memory more. This is the case for Pro Classes for sighted people as well, in case you were curious!

3. The verbal description is simpler. In Open Level class, we’re used to hearing Krishna saying as much as she possibly can: anatomical words, body sensations, and ballet vocabulary all mixed together. Krishna’s descriptions are going to sound much more like the descriptions that she, herself, hears in technique class: mostly ballet vocabulary, with certain specific anatomical cues. She will sound less like a computer assistant and more like a human, but she promises to never, ever shut up!

4. You’ll have more chances with certain exercises. For most exercises, you’ll have two chances to master (same across two classes), but there will be other exercises that will carry across three classes.

5. You get a mini lecture on a specific advanced ballet movement concept as it pertains to blind dance technique specifically!