Risk-themed Spirit & Place runs Nov. 1-10 

click to enlarge 14-year DK vet and Moving Vision participant Liberty Harris.
  • 14-year DK vet and Moving Vision participant Liberty Harris.

Dance Kaleidoscope and Bosma Enterprises are taking a risk for this year's Spirit and Place Festival. Their joint enterprise, Moving Vision, pairs 11 blind participants with 11 DK company members.

The pre-history of the project starts in 2005 when DK dancers worked with teenage girls in juvenile detention on a program called Turning Point.

"These girls wrote their story of how they got to where they are and we choreographed a dance. We made this challenging story into beautiful art," says Liberty Harris, a 14-year DK vet.

Using similar methodology, Dance Kaleidoscope will share the challenges, risks and achievements of the project with Bosma's blind participants.

"The majority of the Bosma people want to be part of the final product," explains Harris. "They have their own vision, interestingly enough, of what they want to put out there for Spirit and Place."

Harris clicked with her dancing partner in the show, Rhonda Chapman, right away.

"She is an amazing woman, and within 30 seconds of meeting her, I adored her," says Harris. "When two people risk putting themselves out there, it doesn't matter who you are. Once you've sensed that the other person is being vulnerable enough to expose themselves, and they know that you are doing the same, it just happens naturally that you bond."

Chapman picked their song and is leading the storytelling elements of the performance. Harris has been working on teaching choreography in a different way.

"I tell her: 'I'm watching you and doing what you're doing," explains Harris. "Or I'll try to explain a pivot turn; we communicate with words and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But I trust her and she trusts me. I can touch her foot and say 'keep it here,' and I turn her body. It's so simple, but to work with somebody that can't see—to be able to physically interact with her that way as we use movement as vocabulary, it's been fun."

As Harris follows her partner's lead, the story that emerges is one of rising above defeat.

"The character that I play in her story, I'm supposed to be the object of defeat that she rises above," Harris says. "She will be strong; she will conquer; she will be an amazing human being that is not affected by losing her vision."

For Harris, this project has come to be more than just another artistic endeavor. As she forges a connection with Chapman, she sees the value in taking a risk to build new relationships, to reach out more.

"It's not about dancing," Harris says. "It's about the human interaction. The beauty that comes from 22 coming together to expose themselves to anyone willing to watch is inspiring."

More Spirit & Place programming:

• $20K: A Competition about Race: Nov. 1, 7-9 p.m. at Indianapolis Museum of Art, $10.
Four presenters vie for $20k to realize a proposal for "reshaping notion of race in Central Indiana."

• Choose Your Adventure, Map Your Risk: Nov. 2, 10-11 a.m. at Superior Market (3702 N. Mitthoefer Road), free.
The challenge was for 170-plus residents to gauge their tolerance for risk, then complete assignments based on their risk levels (low: talk with someone who doesn't speak your language; high: panhandle). See the results Saturday.

• The Puzzling History of Will Shortz: Nov. 3, 3-4:30 p.m. at Central Library, Clowes Auditorium, free.
NYTimes crossword dude Shortz, who graduated from IU with a degree in enigmatology, tells some puzzle-making and table tennis adventures.

• The Hungry Games: Nov. 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Athenaeum Theatre, $10.
NoExit, Q Artistry and the Anthenaeum Foundation band together to spoof the The Hunger Games.

• Touchy Subjects: Art, Sex and Humor: Nov. 6, 6-8 p.m. at Indianapolis Art Center, free.
The key artists and curators behind an exhibition at the intersection of sex and humor talk about their work and lead tours.

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