Why are classes free for blind and visually impaired students?
A. Read more about this at Class Information:
Why Are Classes Free?
Please note, however, that Dark Room Ballet Introductory Level Classes now operate as a scholarship program for new blind and low-vision students. Learn more about the Dark Room Ballet Intro Level Scholarship Program.
Do I need to have any dance experience? I have never danced before / I have only studied social dance styles.
A. You do not need any dance experience or ballet specific skills to get started studying Dark Room Ballet Introductory Level Classes.
Every movement and shape is fully described in class, and Intro class does not assume any prior knowledge of dance at all. Intro is a series of eight classes that repeats regularly, and classes currently take place online, on Saturdays afternoons (New York time).
If you are interested in joining Dark Room Ballet Introductory Level Classes, please contact us.
Dark Room Ballet Open Level Classes can be joined by anyone with a critical mass of prior dance knowledge. If you have completed a full 8-class cycle of Dark Room Ballet Introductory Level Classes, you are ready and welcome to join Dark Room Ballet Open on Monday nights (New York time).
Dark Room Ballet Open Level Classes are appropriate for dancers of all levels, from beginner to professional.
If you are interested in joining Dark Room Ballet Open Level Classes, please contact us.
Does my degree of vision impairment matter? I am totally blind / I am visually impaired / I have a minor vision impairment / I am fully sighted.
A. Your degree of vision impairment will not matter in the course of your Dark Room Ballet study. These classes are not designed to require any sight at all, and having sight does not provide an advantage.
If you are a sighted friend or family member of a Dark Room Ballet student, you are absolutely welcome to take class with us. Please don’t touch your fellow student during class, or otherwise be a distraction, and we’re all good. The cultivation of independent movement and internal alignment is an individual task, and we all find these things in our own time in our own ways.
How should I set up my dance space for Dark Room Ballet class?
A. You should have enough space to take one large step to either side, to the front, and behind you. You should also have a chair, table, or other surface that you can press down on with one or both hands in your dance space. Krishna recommends that her students put a strip of tape on the floor, at least as long as the distance from your elbow to your middle fingertip, ideally as long as your own leg, to develop foot sensitivity and floor-based orientation. There is a long tradition of blind dancers using taped floors.
What should I wear on my feet for Dark Room Ballet class?
A. Krishna wears ballet technique shoes when she teaches, and many of her students do the same. If you don’t have or don’t want to wear ballet technique shoes, regular socks are totally fine. Bare feet, sneakers, or gripper socks are not recommended. Ballet technique creates a lot of friction against the floor, which can really irritate your feet, ankles, and knees. You want to have less friction against your dance floor rather than more.
How do I start taking Dark Room Ballet class?
A. First, read more about what kind of classes are offered:
- Introductory Level Ballet Classes and the Intro Level Class Scholarship Program
- Open Level Ballet Classes
Then, complete the intake registration process as described, which usually consists of an email exchange with the program coordinator and a conversation with Krishna, the instructor.
For weekly classes (Saturdays and Mondays):
You will receive a vocabulary list from Krishna one to two days before class.
On the day of a weekly class or a scheduled workshop:
You will receive a Zoom link via email approximately one hour before the scheduled class or workshop time from the Program Coordinator (Alejandra) and/or staff at Movement Research.
During a Zoom class or workshop:
Weekly classes and scheduled workshops usually run for 90 minutes (and may sometimes run over time).
You don’t have to turn on the camera your computer or device if you don’t feel like it, it is your personal choice.
When you join class, turn your microphone on and say hello to Krishna to let her know that you’re there.
Then, for the first hour of class, turn your microphone off to ensure good audio quality for all students.
You can turn your microphone back on for the last half hour for Question and Answer time!
I felt really confused about something in class! What do I do?
A. The last half hour of Dark Room Ballet class is dedicated exclusively to Question and Answer time! While your question is still fresh in your mind, ask it right away and Krishna will work to help you figure it out right there on the spot. Doing this actually makes her really happy, so don’t be shy!
I am really overtired today/ I got really tired at one point during class/ something didn’t feel comfortable. What do I do?
A. Take a break whenever you need to! Dark Room Ballet is primarily neurological training, which is actually much more exhausting than cardiovascular or strength training. If you feel suddenly very tired, you are probably going through very important and helpful neurological changes that will make moving and dancing and balancing much easier. The best thing to do is find a comfortable way to rest and continue to listen. If you listen and imagine doing the movements described, you are actually priming your neurology to perform them in the future. Listening and imagining are powerful ways to learn movement! However, if you performed a movement and something hurt or felt uncomfortable, please stop dancing and talk to Krishna about it during Question and Answer time. None of the movements taught in Dark Room Ballet should hurt or cause injury! You might be sore the next day from learning how to recruit different muscle fibers, but injury is its own thing and should be addressed right away.
Is dance for Blind/VI people really a thing? Can I really learn this and improve?
A. Oh my goodness, yes. Absolutely. With patience, care, focus, and guidance, you’re going to learn how to do things that sound quite difficult right now, things that some sighted people might not think you can learn. You can. Many people have come before you, you’re not the only one. Even the best known and loved American choreographer, Alvin Ailey knew the potential that blind and visually impaired dancers have to be great artists if they are given the right support.