enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight is an immersive interdisciplinary performance that does not solicit the viewer’s sight but rather all their other senses. Specifically conceived with and for individuals who are low-vision and blind, the work proposes a new sensorial experience of dance and theater. The work will be presented to a live audience who can choose to experience the show blindfolded and invites six audience members to join the experience onstage.
The work has brought together a team of collaborators around a single challenge: to tell a story through dance and theater beyond their visual dimension. The fifty-five minute work is forged by the elaboration of new atmospheres over a specific journey that tells a collective story through textures, movements, sounds, music, scents, storytelling, and audience participation. Participatory audience members who are sighted will wear a cover on their eyes as they enter the work from the beginning to the end of the performance allowing both sighted and unsighted people to share the experience.
enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight is directed by Artistic Director ShaLeigh Comerford and co-directed by Davian Robinson in collaboration with SDW’s company members. The premiere commissions NC-based sound design engineer Erik Ramquist and composer Eric Hirsh, a 2012 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Composer Fellowship and a four-time winner of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. Lighting design is by Bamboo Wind and The In-Between efficianando Jeremy Kumin. Stage design is by Nicholas Jackson. Text Design by Lucia Del Vecchio. Script written by ShaLeigh Comerford in collaboration with Davian Robinson and Creative Collaborators. Creative Collaborators include Elvira Basnight, Janie Desmond, Hillary Honig Ensminger, Chemae Mebane, Brice Smith, and Krishna Washburn.
enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight by ShaLeigh Comerford is co-commissioned by the American Dance Festival with support from the Doris Duke/SHS Foundations Award for New Works and is supported in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Durham Arts Council’s Annual Arts Fund and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org
Estimated Run-Time: 55 minutes
“a bold, immersive performance.” IndyWeek
“Unique, special and entirely personal … a new evolution in dance.” – Chatham Life & Style
“a sensational and poetically eye-opening performance.” CVNC.org
“this imaginative and immersive performance literally presents the audience with a new sensorial way to experience dance and theater.” Beltline to Broadway
“intriguing, innovative and immersive” Saathee Raleigh Magazine
“It’s not our difference of ability that makes us unique or special, but it is our willingness to empower the masses through the arts” – Davian Robinson, Co-Director
“The combination of confronting my own assumptions about accessibility in the arts and inquiring into those assumptions by co-creating a work with a stellar, multi-disciplinary crew of artists has been nothing short of transformative.” – Eric Hirsh, Composer
“After immersing myself with a blindfold as a participant in the piece, I have grown fascinated by what we miss when our eyes are in good working order, that is out there to be sensed, and felt. To paraphrase Gil Scott Heron, the revelation will not be televised, but it will be on stage at ADF in June.” – Jeremy Kumin, Lighting Designer
“Working on enVISION has been such an amazing experience. It has drawn me in so many different directions to bring the motion of sound to the audience. It has been incredible working with those impacted by the ability to participate in movement freedom, and the joy I have witnessed has been an amazingly uplifting experience.” – Erik Ramquist, Sound Designer
“enVISION challenges every preconceived notion we have of dance, sight, and perception. It’s a bold exploration of empathy. It challenges the dancer and the dance, the audience and the stage. It’s about time.” – Kayla Lynn Oelhafen, Company Manager
PRE-SHOW ACCESS MATERIALS
Audio Program Track
Program Text PDF
Stream Safe Zone Track
The story behind this song:
At ShaLeigh Dance Work’s rehearsal in January for enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight, sound designer Erik Ramquist brought a binaural microphone rig to experiment with recording what it would be like to be co-director and performer Davian (DJ) Robinson who lost his vision as a child. With this rig, Erik captured a moving speech by DJ while he was leading an exercise called Safe Zone that asked all creative collaborators to huddle in a tight circle.
That night when Erik sent the track out to the team, composer Eric Hirsh was immediately inspired and took it into his composing program to set it to music. This is the first thing he intuitively played. This song is the result and became the basis for the musical thematic material for the entire show.