Visually impaired students express themselves through dance

Tadej Brdnik grew up “in a very small country.”  Not only that, he said, “I come from a very small town” in that country.

He grew up in Slovenia, in eastern Europe.  He knows his life could have been very different than it is today.   Dance changed him.

Tadej’s (sounds like “ta-day”) future changed on a Slovenian soccer field.  Someone said to him “you have very good rhythm.  And I said ‘what’s rhythm?”  That meeting led to his first dance class at age 10.  Now, he is a principal dancer with the world-famous Martha Graham Dance Company.

Brdnik is also a teacher when his schedule allows.  He shares his talent with students in cities the dance company visits.  The Martha Graham troupe has been in Indianapolis, this week, for a Friday night performance at Clowes Hall.

On Tuesday, Tadej met with students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Sixth grader Kaitlyn Allen said, “I was very thankful that we could have this opportunity to have everyone come in and do all this stuff with a really famous person.”

Brdnik led the students through a series of poses.  By themselves, they were just simple movements.  But, Brdnik showed the students how blending the movements, with music, can become dance.

“A lot of times, the movement in a Graham work is very much connected to how we feel and not something external,” Brdnik said.  “It’s really connected to our senses.” So, visual impairment is “absolutely not” not an impediment to the ability to dance.  “Being able to see is only one way to experience this world.”

Sixth grader Paige Ratliff said, “I just think it’s really cool that you can express yourself through motions.”

Brdnik hopes he convinced the students of his belief that “we are all dancers.”

“No matter who we are and what we do, having that little bit of dance in our lives is going to change how we think and how we are in our lives.”

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