Blind, Visually Impaired Students Learn To Dance


By KMVT News

Gooding, Idaho (KMVT-TV) It's tough enough learning how to dance, but it's always rewarding once you do. Some special dancers in Magic Valley would wholeheartedly agree.

12 students at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind are learning the very basics of ballet and tap dancing. Eight of them are in middle school, and four are in kindergarten.

Jennifer Hirai, Dance Teacher for Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, says, "Once I've got them out here, then I just use a lot more repetition. I have to sometimes physically manipulate their arms, and I have descriptive ways, it's very creative how I have to describe what their arms and legs are doing."

Hirai says the little ones learn creative movement, which often involves rolling around on the mat while a song is playing. Older dance students Alicia Paulin and Adrien Brillhart share why they like the dance class at ISDB.

Paulin says, "I've done ballet when I was little. It seems kind of fun." Brillhart says, "It's just good for the experience, and it's good to know tap dancing when you want to know it."

Hirai says her students are very spirited, and they're a lot of fun to teach. She's working toward her Master's degree, because she says the demand for people who can teach visually impaired students is very high.

Hirai says, "One student will be out of position, where if you had sighted students, they pretty much could eyeball each other, and stay in line. So sometimes you'll have one three feet and turned to the left. It's just heartwarming."

Hirai says her students often make her laugh because they just go with the flow.

Nov. 26, 2012.

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