Dancers Bring Splendor of Ballet to Blind Students during ‘The Nutcracker’

OMAHA –  January 6, 2016 — How can one enjoy an intensely visual artistic experience without the benefit of vision?  American Midwest Ballet recently pondered this question.
Included among the the nearly 6,000 students who attended this season’s school performances of American Midwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Orpheum Theater were students from Nebraska Center for the Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (NCECBVI), located in Nebraska City, NE. Founded in 1875, the center offers blind, visually impaired, and multi-handicapped students services in residential, day, and outreach settings.
nutcracker 2015
As it turns out, lack of sight did not prove to be limiting factor in enjoying the ballet. American Midwest Ballet treated the students to front row seats by the stage. For the students who could not experience the performance visually, teachers sat nearby to describe what was happening on stage.
nutcracker with NCECBVI 1“We were so happy the students could share in the joy of The Nutcracker,”  said artistic director, Erika Overturff. “They not only experienced the beautiful music of Peter Tchaikovsky, they also shared in the energy of the audience and even touched the ribbons on our dancers’ pointe shoes.”
All of that wonderful ribbon-touching action happened at a post-show gathering with the company’s professional ballet dancers.
The students were also able to feel the different fabrics used in the costumes. By using the sense of touch, they could perceive how different textures create patterns.
“The children had the opportunity to explore our costumes up close and ask questions,” said dancer Katherine Boatright who organized the visit and the ‘touch-tour’ which followed.  “It was an amazing experience for all of us.”
When the Sugar Plum Fairy, Erin Alarcón, heard about the opportunity to meet these special guests, she knew right away she wanted to participate. She thought maybe four or five dancers would attend, “but when I walked in,” said Alarcón, “I saw that most of our professional dancers were in attendance, which warmed my heart!”
“American Midwest Ballet has a passion for sharing dance with others,” said Alarcón. “We were all so honored to be able to be a part of this special experience.”