Visions of Inclusion

Working Titel: A Wall That Is Not There (performance research)

by artist Britt Hatzius in collaboration with Krishna Washburn (Dark Room Ballet).

A close up photograph of Krishna's feet standing on an orange tape on the floor.

MOVING OUT LOUD is an experience of dance without the sense of sight. In small groups, with eyes closed, the audience finds itself in the middle of the stage, immersed in a sonically playful landscape of descriptive voices and moving bodies. Developed together with blind and sighted dancers, the performance artistically deals with (self-)audio description and the potential empathic resonance in the acoustic perception of dance.
The encounter between different protagonists, voices and bodies offers a playful examination of the question of how movement can be experienced beyond the visual aspect of dance. Amid audible stage presence of the dancers, and without visual reference, the audience is presented with a very individual idea of dance and body perception. Starting with blind ballet dancer Krishna Washburn’s teaching method of self-audio description in her online Dark Room Ballet workshops, Britt Hatzius explored the acoustic potential of a non-visual sensation of dance in her research together with blind performer Pernille Sonne, blind singer Gerlinde Sämann, sighted dancers Cecilia Ponteprimo and Livia Vogt, and dancers from the Dresden-Frankfurt-Dance-Company. With this performance, she makes this shared exploration accessible to a sighted and non-sighted audience through the immersive
sound installation OTTOsonics.

Presented at Theater Rampe Stuttgart (16.-19.05.2024), EinTanzHaus Mannheim (7.-15.05.2024), Schwankhalle Bremen (23.-26.05.2024).

TEAM
Regie / Concept: Britt Hatzius
In Zusammenarbeit mit / in collaboartion with
Tanz / Choreography: Krishna Washburn, Pernille Sonne, Cecilia Ponteprimo, Gerlinde Sämann, Livia Vogt, Lorenzo Ponteprimo und Georgia Begbie, Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company (Ioannis Mandafounis)
Dramaturgie / Dramaturgy: Charlotte Arens
Outside Ear: Melanie Hambrecht, Lenka Löhmann, Sanatha Hannig, Thomas Tajo
Tonschnitt / Sound edit: Britt Hatzius, Felix Deufel
Tonaufnahmen / Sound recordings: Britt Hatzius, Rupert Jaud
Ambisonic Tontechnik (OTTOsonics): Manu Mitterhuber
Künstlerische Produktion / Production: Katja TimmerbergA close up photograph of Krishna’s feet standing on an orange tape on the floor.

As part of her professional dance practice, blind ballet dancer Krishna Washburn teaches dance classes to blind and visually impaired dancers online only (see darkroomballet.com).

“I have to be compassionate in my teaching. For some of my blind students, I compensate for the education and awareness they never received. Imagine I’m talking to someone so highly intelligent, so sensitive, such a beautiful person, and nobody ever thought it was worth telling them what a heel, calf or hip is, nobody ever bothered to teach her those words, to show her what her body could do. And that makes me so sad. We desperately need a culture that helps every body to express itself.” Krishna (2020)

In her online dance classes, she communicates with her students through language, which eventually leads to movement, an audio description that plays out as “self-audio description” without involving the visual.

In “A Wall That is Not There” we would like to take Krishna’s expertise and individual perspective as a starting point to further explore and celebrate the linguistic possibilities of describing movement and finally to make it possible for an audience to experience it in a performative work. This form of representation beyond the sense of sight implicitly ties in with the currently increasing attempts at audio description in the performing arts. But compared to classic audio description, in which a seeing audio descriptor describes for a blind audience, Krishna works in her workshop without reference to the visual sense. Instead of understanding the audio description as a kind of translation of visual information into auditory information, here both emotions and movements are translated into anatomical and associative vocabulary to then be individually interpreted and expressed by the individual body. 

In this performance, Britt Hatzius is concerned with making Krishna’s linguistic examination of her body knowledge in her “Dark Room Ballet” workshops tangible for a sighted or diversified audience beyond the otherwise dominant sense of sight in the dark. It is our intention, through the auditory encounter with Krishna’s personal way of perception, to irritate patterns of sensual hierarchies that have become entrenched and to avoid or question possible stigmatization or prejudices with openness and humor as well as seriousness. The audio description here is a guide to a non-visual physical experience. 

Research phase: January – June 2023. Funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V., Germany. Premier: Spring 2024.

TEAM

Regie / Konzept: Britt Hatzius mit Krishna Washburn, Dramaturgie: Charlotte Arens, Recherche Assistenz: Anna Chwialkowska, Choreographische Assistenz: Livia Vogt, Kollaborateure: Thomas Tajo, Gerlinde Sämann, Pernille Sonne, Melanie Hambrecht, Lenka Löhmann, Technische Assistenz: Manu Mitterhuber (OTTOsonic), Künstlerische Produktionsleitung: Katja Timmerberg.