I echo calls for connected dances, and to put aside the impulse to call
duple minor dances.

Consider as well that many experienced dancers, despite a desire to be
helpful, may not actually be particularly helpful. This is because the
skills involved in being helpful are both subtle and also rarely addressed
or taught. (This is about all helpfulness, not specifically about helping
visually impaired dancers).

Given this, people are willing to be very helpful if given a few simple and
concrete instructions: how to orient people as you make connections and as
you leave connections (on to the next), how to remember the sequence easily
so you can focus on the interactions, how to recover. And perhaps most
important, an attitude that focuses on fun, welcoming and connection rather
than "getting it perfect." These skills are general, but there are likely
specific needs in the context of the dance you describe.

I highly recommend the Bruce Hamilton article "When You're Not the Caller,"
which addresses these issues:

Best of luck, hope your group has a great time!


On Sunday, April 14, 2019, Helle Hill via Callers <
callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:

> Thank you so far for all your responses. I have learned a lot already. I
> just reread my original email and realize that I forgot to mention that
> most of the visually impaired are elementary, middle, and high school
> students so traditional dance may work well.
> Someone mentioned a Snake dance and I actually thought of starting with
> that.
> Thank you again. I look forward to reading more responses and suggestions.
> Helle
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Luke Donforth <luke.do...@gmail.com>
> *To:* Shared Weight Callers' Listserv <callers@lists.sharedweight.net>
> *Cc:* Helle Hill <helleh...@yahoo.com>; Mac Mckeever <mac...@ymail.com>
> *Sent:* Sunday, April 14, 2019 6:42 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Callers] Calling for the visually impaired
> (Technical note, I Mac's response, but not Helle's original post?)
> I don't have extensive experience calling for visually impaired dancers. I
> have occasionally had an experienced blind dancer on the floor, but never a
> sizable percentage. But this is conjecture on my part; please trust your
> own judgement.
> It sounds like you're calling for a bunch of folks who don't regularly
> dance? In which case, I'd recommend (as with most one-off gigs), not
> focusing on 'duple improper contras' and just get folks moving to music.
> Something as simple as a snake dance may be a good kick-off. It's not
> overly simplifying for them, that's often a dance that gets used at
> community dances.
> It may be worth talking to the sound person ahead of time to see if a
> clear "head of the hall" can be established sonicly. Some gigs will put up
> more than one row of speakers or such to blanket the sound, but giving an
> audio clue about direction may be useful.
> If you're shooting for hands-four contras, I wonder if some of the pass
> through progressions of simple contra dances could be re-worked to have a
> roll-away instead? For instance,
> A1:
> long lines
> neighbor swing, end facing down the hall
> A2
> Down four in line, turn as couples, come back
> B1
> Circle left three places, partner swing
> B2
> Circle left three places,
> balance the ring, gents roll neighbor lady away with a half sashay
> As two-swing contras go, that's a relatively simple. Everyone is always
> holding on to at least one other person. But you've still got changes of
> direction and knowing your orientation when you end the swing.
> But even that is more complicated than I would run for most community
> dances when most people aren't regular dancers. Even if you have one
> "seeing" partner in each pair, if you're not separating sets out by "this
> set has seeing gents role; that set has seeing ladies role" then if you do
> a neighbor swing, you'll end up with couples that don't have a "seeing"
> person.
> Good luck! And please do let us know how it goes, and what you figure out.
> On Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 4:21 PM Mac Mckeever via Callers <
> callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
> For several years we had a wonderful lady dance with us who was totally
> blind (could not even tell light or dark)- here are a few things I learned
> from her
> She always danced in a line next to a wall - the reflections off the wall
> gave her as good a sense of direction as the rest of us.
> Use dances where you stay connected to other dancers.  With her experience
> she did well on dosido and hey - but down the outside alone was not
> possible.
> You will have a problem any time dancers need to make new connections -
> like ladies chain, allemand, etc - someone has to be able to find the
> impaired dancer's hand.
> She would not dance squares - too much uncertainty and dancers who are
> lost made it impossible for her to recover(in a contra you get past it
> quickly so only one time thru is challenging).
> As I said - this dancer was totally blind (but so good that those who did
> not know her often did not figure it out).  She also clapped at times when
> not connected to hear what was around her.
> It sounds like your dancers will have various degrees of impairment, so
> some of this may not be as important.
> Hope this helps some - while challenging - this should be very rewarding
> and fun.
> Mac McKeever
> St Louis
> On Sunday, April 14, 2019, 2:53:33 PM CDT, Helle Hill via Callers <
> callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
> I work with the visually impaired and have been asked to call an evening
> of dances for an outing. I know the basics of working with the visually
> impaired but does anyone have any suggestions for dances, how to handle the
> directional aspect, or any other ideas to make it a successful experience.
> I hope that each visually impaired dancer will have a "seeing" partner.
> Thank you so much in advance.
> Helle
> _______________________________________________
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> _______________________________________________
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> --
> Luke Donforth
> luke.donfo...@gmail.com <luke.do...@gmail.com>

Jerome Grisanti

"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power
and magic in it." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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