Krishna's Thoughts

A message of thanks from Krishna…

It’s been an incredibly productive year in the Dark Room in 2023!

image described at end of post

Let’s reflect on some of our accomplishments:

  • Two cycles of Dark Room Ballet Intro classes for blind and low vision students who have never had the opportunity to study traditional blind dance technique before!

  • The first-ever cycle of Dark Room Ballet Pro Class to support our working and pre-professional disabled artists!

  • Five brand new No Diagram Anatomy workshops — the two-part Arm Complex saga, the Respiratory System, and the Spinal Complex and Iliopsoas Complex yet to come in December!

  • Seven brand new Audio Description for Dance workshops, which had the highest attendance of any classes I have ever taught before!

  • A whole year of Monday night Open Level classes without pauses!

And all of these learning opportunities were tuition-free.

I have so much planned for 2024, including developing a brand new teacher training module for the summer, which will be the first of its kind: a formal series of workshops to help others teach traditional blind dance techniques and pedagogical audio description. 

The kind of curriculum that I choose develop and teach is what I feel will serve blind and visually impaired arts community the most, and very often, I’m the first or the only teacher teaching on these topics. It’s for this reason that I have a commitment to tuition-free education in the Dark Room, because it’s how I believe I can help my community the most.

Please consider a donation to Dark Room Ballet this Giving Tuesday, to support high-quality, authentic learning experiences designed for the educational needs of blind and visually impaired people.

Infinite gratitude, infinitely changed; infinite gratitude, infinitely changed.

Love always,

Image description:

Krishna stands in the Dark Room Ballet dance studio on the taped marley floor in front of the brick wall.
She’s wearing her favorite bright red wool skirt with matching sash and black blouse with eyelet design down the sleeves, and her half-sole ballet technique shoes that she wears to teach class.
She is wearing her hair in the seventeenth century style she wears every day: braids wrapped around the head and sewn in a crown with a white ribbon.

News / Announcements

“Telephone Film” in the New York Times, and next screening on November 15th!

The Telephone Film is currently featured in The New York Times, as part of a thoughtful piece by reporter Siobhan Burke which explores the evolution of audio description for dance.

Here is the opening excerpt:

The dancer Krishna Washburn remembers attending a performance years ago by a well-known modern dance company at a large New York City theater. Washburn, who is blind, opted to experience the show with audio description: in this case, a track that narrated the dance as it was happening, delivered through a headset.

Intended to make the performance more accessible, the voice in her ear had the opposite effect: She left the theater feeling alienated, excluded. During the finale, a work famous for its deep emotional resonance, she heard people in the seats around her crying. But the audio description evoked nothing that seemed worthy of tears.

“I’m listening to: ‘Two dancers enter stage right; they proceed down the front diagonal,’” she said in a video interview, recalling the describer’s mechanical tone. “‘Two more dancers join them.’ And I’m like: ‘Why did they get you to cry? What’s really happening? There’s something I’m not getting.’”

Washburn now looks back on that moment as a turning point — away from feeling grateful for any attempt at audio description, and toward imagining and advocating more.

The founder and sole teacher of Dark Room Ballet, a ballet curriculum designed for blind and visually impaired students, Washburn is also the co-director, with the choreographer Heather Shaw, of “Telephone,” a film exploring the creative possibilities of audio description for dance. Presented around the country since its premiere last year, “Telephone” will be screened virtually by the New York City dance hub Movement Research on Nov. 15, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers.

The article continues, and includes audio and video:

Hear the Dance: Audio Description Comes of Age

(gift link, no subscription required, feel free to share)

Recent experiments in describing dance, like the film “Telephone,” approach it not just as an accessibility service but as a space for artistic exploration.

* A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 12, 2023, Section AR, Page 5 of the New York edition with the headline: Audio Description Finds Its Footing.

Our next screening:

With gratitude to all our colleagues and collaborators (many of whom are featured in the article), we would like to invite everyone to the next virtual screening of the Telephone Film, which takes place on Wednesday, November 15th at 6:30 PM (Eastern), sponsored by Movement Research.

The screening is free, but registration is required:

Register for Studies Project: Telephone Film Virtual Screening at Movement Research

If the registration form is not accessible to you, please email to register

Please note:

  • This event will happen ONLINE via Zoom.
  • Once you register, you should receive confirmation from Movement Research and/or Dark Room Ballet with a Zoom link and access to the Telephone FilmGoer Guide online.
  • If you cannot attend this screening, there are future screening events that can join — visit the Telephone Film Screenings page for updated info!

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