Brazil’s Ballet School for the Blind

Reports of visually impaired people performing regular activities with finesse are not new. However, such stories never cease to amaze us. The resilience and confidence displayed by some of the blind leave us awestruck, and sometimes the blind are even able to do things that people with normal vision are not.

Dance is one such activity. While it is almost inconceivable to think of a blind person being able to perceive and enact the dance moves of a beautiful and classical form like ballet, a Brazilian ballet school has managed to do just that – train blind dancers. And how they dance!

Fernanda Bianchini, who started the free school in 1995, had a handful of reluctant students to begin with, many of whom had no idea what ballet was. Using unique methods of teaching that involved touch, Fernanda was able to teach her students everything about ballet, including how to tie their hair up into a bun and how to put on their ballet shoes.In order to get the girls to learn ballet moves, the students touch Fernanda’s legs and arms while she is demonstrating. Even though it has been a steep learning curve, she admits, the girls have managed to pick up the art form beautifully.

 

The school started by Fernanda is mainly funded through donations. Approximately 300 dancers have been trained by this unique school. Most of the the initial students are now in their mid-twenties, with a new generation of students joining in. In order to give wings to the dreams and hopes of her best students, Fernanda has even started a ballet company of her own. She dreams of seeing her students perform on stage.


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