Why are classes free for blind and visually impaired students?
A. Read more about this at Class Information:
Why Are Classes Free?
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. Every movement and shape is fully described in class. However, since Monday night group classes are open level, you and Krishna might decide to have some private lessons together to help you feel more familiar with listening to movement descriptions and responding to them. She does not currently charge for private lessons for her group class students. Monday night open classes are appropriate for dancers of all levels, from beginner to professional.
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, email or call Krishna and tell her that you want to join. She will probably want to have a little conversation with you before your first class. Then, on Monday, about 45 minutes before class starts, you will receive an email from Krishna with the Zoom link for class. You don’t have to use your camera if you don’t feel like it, it is your choice. When you join class, turn your microphone on and say hi to Krishna and 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.