Apparently Normal (2010)

On an apparently normal day, while in an apparently normal Manchester, there is an apparently normal person… with a white stick…

Apparently Normal is a dance work inspired by the real day-to-day life of visually impaired people, contrasting the clash of difference in normality between them and the sighted.

Consisting of thematically related sections, six dancers look at the black humour of injustice, from the mild to the outrageous, from the ironic to the disdainful.

Day to day life for people living with visual impairment can be precarious, not only due to the obvious hazards, but also with the pressure to be fast, mobile and technology dependent in today’s hyper-mobile society. When a visual impaired person moves through society dependent on visual information, how can they stay in touch and so comply to the ‘norm’? Or can they indicate to us the need to slow down, revealing how in the ‘normal’ non-stop fast moving sighted culture, life is actually passing us by.

Using choreography combined with narrative and text, scenarios both real and abstract are played out, where the social under-dog triumphs over the human or institutional oppressor.

A flavour of what’s to come…

Rushing… Strangers are knocked flying as the ever rushing sighted are blind to their surroundings… yet the slower blind see all as they both reach out and listen…

Revenge… A sighted person takes something off of a blind person’s dinner plate… good joke! But when the sighted person’s back turns there is plenty of scope to turn the joke around…

Revolution… The blind are a burden, bodies to be moved in a complex dance… Yet suddenly they avoid this… and even start leading the dance, catching and supporting the sighted…

Respect… Dancers move with long white sticks… useful to sweep away careless sighted people who get in the way! A choreography of white sticks creates space and allows for interaction. Sticks clash and sweep each other up into larger-than-life movement.

Apparently Normal’s creation followed a successful research and development process in August and November 2008.

Whose Normality…?

When dancer Stuart Jackson spins on stage then stops still on the spot without falling, people watching can’t understand. As Stuart is blind from birth, his dance is truly his. It is apparently not normal for a blind person to be dancing freely on stage. The general assumption is: if you can’t see, how can you perform in a restricted space amongst other dancers?

What is normal for Touchdown is not the social or cultural norm. It is normal for the visually impaired dancers of Touchdown to move freely in space, to create dance that both touches and excels expectations. Drawing on the lunacy, the trauma and the poignancy of real experience over the last 5 years, Touchdown explore the humour, narrative and the edginess that arises when one compares what is apparently normal for visually impaired people and what is apparently expected of them by the sighted.

Performances

Leap! Dance Festival

Rose Theatre, Edge Hill University

Brindley Arts Centre, Runcorn

Workshops

Turn dance festival

Greenroom, Manchester. An excerpt of new work, "look into the light" with Jamus Wood, Robert Andersen and Katy Dymoke.

Contact Improvisation festival

Bluecoat Theatre, Liverpool

Photos


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