Extending Our Vision: Access to Inclusive Dance Education for People with Visual Impairment

Jenny Seham, Anna J. Yeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Environmental, organizational and attitudinal obstacles continue to prevent people with vision loss from meaningfully engaging in dance education and performance. This article addresses the societal disabilities that handicap access to dance education for the blind. Although much of traditional dance instruction relies upon visual cuing and modeling, evidence suggests that dance can be successfully taught to blind students by integrating verbal and tactile modes of instruction. There is a need for professional development to train teachers in inclusion dance methodologies that specifically address the learning needs of students with vision loss. There is a further need for a significant paradigm shift towards the acceptance of blind people as dance students and performers with full capacity to experience, appreciate and expand the current boundaries of the art form. We surveyed fifteen parents of dance students with vision loss to assess their perceptions of the importance of dance education and the challenges of accessibility. Thematic content analyses indicated that parents perceived benefits in health, socialization, and dance literacy. Parents also perceived a lack of accessibility to dance for students with vision loss. This article provides evidence of successful dance inclusion for the blind. We recommend integration of dance pedagogy specific to the needs of people with visual impairment in the training of our teachers and the teaching of our students. Spotlighted techniques include: somatic approaches, tactile modeling, physical guidance, oral description, and one-to-one partner teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dance Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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