The Adaptability Shuffle

In 2010, choreographer Jenni Bregman heard Oliver Sacks interviewed on NPR. After a lifetime of studying neurological conditions -- synesthesia, autism, phantom-limb syndrome, Tourette’s, Parkinson’s, et al. -- Sacks had turned his keen and compassionate observations on himself. He had been diagnosed with an eye tumor that robbed him of vision in one eye, and he had to adapt to seeing the world as entirely flat. Touched and inspired by the details he described, Bregman began to investigate Sacks’ predicament through her own body. If only the bottom half of your vision remained, would you tilt your head back to look someone in the face? With only one eye, would you always twist your body in that direction? In Context, Bregman’s dancers personify these processes. One dancer finds himself gradually losing sight, and finally blindfolded. Another contends with an auditory processing disorder that turns everyday noise into an overwhelming cacophony. A third embodies the experience of Jill Bolte Taylor, made famous for her TED talk describing the vacillation between right and left brain perception during her own stroke. A fourth takes on the role of an audience member, so dependent on yet cavalier about our complete sensory understanding. The Adaptability Shuffle In 2010, choreographer Jenni Bregman heard Oliver Sacks interviewed on NPR. After a lifetime of studying neurological conditions Ñ synesthesia, autism, phantom-limb syndrome, Tourette’s, Parkinson’s, et al. Ñ Sacks had turned his keen and compassionate observations on himself. He had been diagnosed with an eye tumor that robbed him of vision in one eye, and he had to adapt to seeing the world as entirely flat. Touched and inspired by the details he described, Bregman began to investigate Sacks’ predicament through her own body. If only the bottom half of your vision remained, would you tilt your head back to look someone in the face? With only one eye, would you always twist your body in that direction? In Context, Bregman’s dancers personify these processes. One dancer finds himself gradually losing sight, and finally blindfolded. Another contends with an auditory processing disorder that turns everyday noise into an overwhelming cacophony. A third embodies the experience of Jill Bolte Taylor, made famous for her TED talk describing the vacillation between right and left brain perception during her own stroke. A fourth takes on the role of an audience member, so dependent on yet cavalier about our complete sensory understanding.
March 21-22, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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