Dark Room Ballet classes are always free for blind and visually impaired students.
There’s a reason why.
I never charge students for Dark Room Ballet classes, including private classes. I don’t even want to entertain students paying or “donating” to me in exchange for classes, and there are some very important reasons why I feel this way.
If you grew up in the United States, you were, by virtue of being here, promised a bare minimum of education that was supposed to help you grow up into a well-rounded adult that can understand and navigate the world easily. Whether you know it or not, that includes a certain amount of physical education that is supposed to help you understand how your body works, help you cultivate balance and vestibular sense, help you key into a sense of orientation in space, and prepare you to feel comfortable learning new kinds of movement with minimal guidance.
If you experienced vision loss after school age in the United States, you were, by virtue of being here, promised a bare minimum of education that was supposed to help you adapt to your new circumstances, help you orient yourself and navigate independently, help understand the postures and movements of your body from within, and help you cultivate senses other than sight.
The truth of the matter is that most blind and visually impaired people in the United States are not given this bare minimum of education. This is called education denial, and it is a failure of civil rights. Most disabled people of all ages in most countries around the world will experience education denial, and what a lot of us do is absorb and internalize that wrong. We blame ourselves for struggling to learn new things. We tell ourselves that we can’t learn how to do certain things, because we know that other people don’t think we can learn them. We spend a huge proportion of our lives trying to teach ourselves how to do things, years, when we could have been using our time in a more balanced way, and we think that’s normal, or that’s just how our lives have to be.
You, a blind or visually impaired person, do not only deserve to learn physical skills, but you are entitled to learn them. You have a right to learn movement skills from a teacher with appropriate training and empathy. You have a right to learn physical forms of artistic expression, so that you can self-actualize. You should not have to pay money for something which is your basic human right.
Dark Room Ballet does not accept payment from students.
Dark Room Ballet does, however, consider partnerships with grant-giving organizations, non-profits, and other funding institutions if their values align with our core philosophies. Organizations dedicated to disability rights and rights to education are encouraged to contact Dark Room Ballet directly.