SDW proudly presented the Audio Described Virtual Premieres of Beyond Sight: The Making of enVISION & enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight

A smiling, blindfolded man stands on a pile of leaves and looks up with arms reaching out while surrounded by a group of performers, bubbles, and wind chimes.

Previously, ShaLeigh Dance Works premiered enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight to live audiences opening the 89th American Dance Festival’s Season with five sold-out performances at The Fruit in Durham, North Carolina. Talented videographer Palani Mohan captured the show with high-quality multi camera shoots of the live performance. While creating this collaborative dance-theatre work, filmmaker Michael Washington of Argyle Rebel Films added another layer of collaboration: he documented the process. 

We invited viewers to join us both onstage and behind the scenes through this double premiere with audio description by Jan Too, to take a closer look at what went into its making and to experience the virtual premiere of enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight.

“Audio description is not only a service designed to help blind and visually impaired audiences gain deeper insights, but it creates a full immersive experience. Audio description also helps persons with vision as a powerful message: it transcends social & cultural norms of what it deems important while revealing the information that actually levels the playing field.” – Co-Director Davian Robinson

Jan Tu is a describer of choice for audio description training. She strives for accuracy and evocativeness and is an advocate for removing barriers to all art forms whether visual, tactile, aural, or kinetic. When asked why audio description is also important for sighted audiences, she shared,“If the general public is not aware of the disconnect – not aware that not everyone can participate equally – they will not make space [time, even if only seconds] for audio designers like me to fill in the gaps.”  – Audio Describer Jan Tu

Chatham Life & Style called it “a new evolution in dance.” IndyWeek praised it as “astounding” and a “bold, immersive performance.” CVNC described it as “a sensational and poetically eye-opening performance,” and Beltline to Broadway chronicled it as “a new sensorial way to experience dance and theater.”

We were thrilled to premiere the audio described documentary and performance virtually. 

The Virtual Premiere of enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight, filmed by Palani Mohan with audio description by Jan Too, was 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 proposed a new sensorial experience of dance and theater. The work was presented to a live audience who could choose to experience the show blindfolded and invited six audience members to join the experience onstage. It premiered Friday, June 9th at 5pm

The Virtual Premiere of Beyond Sight: The Making of enVISION, a Michael I. Washington Film  audio described by Jan Too was premiered on Friday, June 9th at 5pm. Michael Washington, the Filmaker, described it as “a one of a kind documentary that showcased the creative process behind ShaLeigh Dance Works’ newest masterwork. Told by the artists themselves, ‘Beyond Sight’ was an unflinching look at what it takes to push boundaries and change the landscape of live performance forever.”

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