Laura’s overall intention is to heighten awareness of the blind and deafblind communities in Ireland but also the metaphorical blindness we can actively lift through our awareness in order to live more mindful, fulfilled, compassionate lives together. Through a number of creative mentorship and residency programmes*, Laura has created a daring exploration of the role of the senses, inviting you to find fresh vision and become a part of this investigative journey into metaphorical and physical blindness.
Research, community workshops and performance projects since 2015 have seen this work develop from an accessible dance practice to an integrated dance project that invites all abilities, all ages, all levels of vision, all backgrounds and all professions to participate, learn and dance together.
The non-hierarchical structure of these workshops and training programs have benefited people not just with vision loss but those seeking to develop greater kinaesthetic skill, somatic awareness, embodiment, and dance skill.
Workshops have been offered online, in-person, in schools, community venues, and organizational settings to adults and children with vision loss and deafblindness, to healthcare staff, teachers, parents and carers.
For more information on the Movement for Wellbeing aspect of this work check out Laura’s holistic website: www.healingyoga.ie/ability/
For more information about Laura: https://healingyoga.ie/about-us/
Interview while Dancer in Residence at Rua Red Arts Centre, discussing the development and production of the 2017 accessible performance “Running Blind”:
Residencies and mentorships associated with the development of the Running Blind Dance Project:
- Dancer in Residence at RUA RED, South Dublin Centre for the Arts
- Artist in Residence at Fringe Lab Dublin
- Dance Ireland Mentored Residency Award with Tom Pritchard
- Dance Ireland Tyrone Guthrie Centre Residency Award
- Artist-in-the-community at the Anne Sullivan Centre for DeafBlind
During residency periods with both Fringe Lab Dublin and RUA RED South Dublin Centre for the Arts, Laura led research labs and integrated dance workshops with dancers, actors, and members of the deafblind community exploring sensorial awareness, metaphorical blindness, concepts of dance in its sensory, tactile and linguistic forms, social pressures based on physical appearance and questioned modern society’s over-reliance on the use of sight and its consequences.
Key to the Research and Development of this project was Laura’s 2017 Residency award where she invited Walei Sabry, then working at the Mayors Office for People with Disabilities in NYC and Dancer Janie Doherty into a two week research lab at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.
Walei gave workshops/training on accessibility, and Laura led movement research where the trio developed inclusive dance practices and verbal and tactile codes and cues to support the creation and performance of dance for performers with and without vision. They did three studio sharings and made a short film of their rich development time and the learning and practices they created together.
In the following video, Laura talks about the ideas and process behind making Running Blind in reference to the first production as part of this on-going evolving project:
The support of joint Mentors- Amanda Coogan (Performance artist, CODA and sign language interpretor) and Tom Pritchard, international dance artist working in arts participation, was an instrumental part of the process in developing Running Blind.
The showing of Running Blind in the Scene + Heard festival, Smock Alley, was the first incarnation of a performance that will in time be developed into a fully accessible installation.