For most, ballet is a visual art form. The corps de ballet move together as if they are one body, reacting to each other to synchronize their movements and complement their positions on stage. So how can such an art form be accessible to blind and partially sighted people?
For over 25 years, the Royal Opera House’s Monday Moves project has been challenging that very presumption of the art form’s visual nature, with weekly ballet classes specifically for adults with sight impairment.
‘It was an experiment to see if visually impaired people could do ballet,’ explains Maggie, one of the founding members of Monday Moves.
Many of the participants had tried other dance classes in the past, but found them difficult to follow as they couldn’t see what the teacher was doing. At Monday Moves participants have a shared movement language in the form of ballet’s French terminology, enabling faster and more accurate responses to vocal instruction.