Blindly dancing: you don’t need eyes to dance

Have you ever tried to blindfold your eyes and do, this way, what you usually do while seeing (e.g. eating, walking, etc.)? I experienced this sensation some years ago, for a few hours, and, after the initial discomfort and disorientation, I can say I lived a truly unique experience. But, at that time, I didn’t tried to dance “in the dark”. I remembered by chance that experience reading on a magazine the story of Elena Travaini and of the “blindly dancing”, the method she invented to nurture her strong passion for dance beyond the limits that, according to most people, she would be supposed to suffer due to the retina cancer she’s been living with since her birth and that has made her almost blind. Probably, many of us saw her performing, together with her companion, Anthony Carollo, in the last season of “Ballando con le stelle(“Dancing with the stars”, ndt), the show broadcasted by Rai1 and dedicated, precisely, to dance. Elena and Anthony, furthermore, will be starring in the short film “Blurred”, which will be presented at the next cinema festival in Berlin.

Blindly dancing

What is, exactly, the “blindly dancing”? The answer is easy: as the word itself suggests, is a dance in the dark, where dancers are blindfolded, so that they can focus, while dancing, on their own bodies, feelings and emotions. This way, visually impaired and sighted dancers can dance together and fully share the dancing experience. Through this method, in addition to discover themselves and connect with their deepest emotions and feelings, they also learn to rely on the one they’re dancing with and “listen” to him. That’s why the “blindly dancing” is often used also to raise awareness towards bullying, that, after all, arises precisely from the inability to empathize with the others, with who lives situations or conditions we don’t know.

Elena and Anthony have founded a non-profit organization, in order to let blindly dancing be known all over Italy and Europe, together with its deeper message: there are no insuperable borders, if you let your sensations and passions guide you, opening up to the others.

Dance, dance, dance: discovering the danceability


Can you dance, with a motoric disability? Instinctively, you’d answer no. But, lucklily, reality is different.

In 1987, two US choreographers, Alito Alessi and Karen Nelson, created the danceability, a dance method based on the principle that everyone, including disabled people, has the possibility and the right to express his own artistic verve also through the dance.

About 30 years later, the method developed by the two choreographers has come a long way. Today, Alessi is the promoter of DanceAbility® International, an organization aiming to promote the method, and the philosophy it’s based on, all around the world (including Italy!), through workshop, courses and performances.


But who’s danceability for? Just disabled (motoric, psychic or sensory)? No, quite the contrary! During the classes, continuous interaction among disabled and “able-bodied” is encouraged, in the free expression enabled by dance. There are no schemes, nor right or wrong steps, or strict rules: it’s up to everyone’s creativity and fantasy to invent the choreography inspired by music, based on his own skills and capabilities.

Furthermore, this method is particularly useful also to those working directly with disabled people, since it enables them learning effective methods to hook up more directly and effectively with them.

Not to mention the fact that, since it doesn’t “ghettoize” disabled people in “dedicated classes”, but mixes them with “able-bodied”, the danceability successes where, many times, good purposes run around: promoting and creating, through the dancing experience, the effective inclusion of disabled people (who are, precisely, people beyond and before their diseases), undermining and, often, destroying prejudices and preconceptions – that are still far too widespread and rooted- surrounding disability.

So, what about launching ourselves on the dance floor?