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Describing Dance: invite to collab on collective access

Dear disability, dance and media arts communities,

The InterdepenDance Collective is looking for volunteers who are sighted, hearing and who speak, to help increase access to dance. We invite you to learn to create (amateur) audio descriptions for (fantastic!) dance video excerpts.

Currently there are very few audio described dance videos on the internet, even among dance companies who aim to be inclusive and accessible.

Do you have at least 5 hours available, either sometime between January 17- January 24, OR anytime in the next few months? We’re looking for people to record audio descriptions of key visual elements of dance videos sometime this year. As we are collaborating online, colleagues beyond the island are warmly invited, and encouraged, to join in.

Here’s a draft web page with links to video excerpts to choose from for creating descriptions – please keep the draft web page top secret for now!

To sign up to help out with creating audio descriptions, send an email to Joanne, who will add your email to the collaborative describing email list.


Below on this page:
Describing dance options
Details for how to contribute a basic audio description
Resources – examples of described dance


Describing dance options

There are different approaches available for describing dance. Some examples are: narrating physical actions, metaphor, poetry, storytelling, multiple people’s voices to each represent a different dancer, soundscapes, layering of different styles, and option of tactile describing (in person at events). There are examples from Kinetic Light, as well as All Bodies Dance Project and VocalEye’s Translations project, of different describing techniques in the resources section below.

Each person creating a description can use the style/s that seem to fit with a particular video, or that they are most comfortable with.

Here is an ideal context for adding audio description to videos:

  • Raise funds to hire the video’s main artist or dancer, as well as artistic consultants from blind and disability communities, to co-create the descriptions.
  • If this is not possible, could collaborate in pairs or as a small group on a draft audio description, choosing a video that resonates with the experiences or identities of the people present, and pay consultants to review and recommend edits to the description.
  • If funds are not available, then create a draft audio description and share it with the collaborative describing email list inviting feedback.

How to contribute:

Details for creating a basic audio description:

  1. Be in touch to have your email added to the collaborative describing email list and online “Describing videos” folder.
    Two documents will be shared with you:
    -“Describing ideas” (with suggestions from Christine who is a local artist who was involved with the Translations project with VocalEye and All Bodies Dance Project);
    -and “Describing videos sign-up” (that shows which videos don’t have anyone signed up yet for describing).
  2. Watch a few videos that don’t have anyone signed up yet, then pick which video/s you’re comfortable creating a description for. (Please note the video excerpt start and end times.)
  3. Let the group know which video excerpts you’re going to describe:
    -either add your name next to the name of the video on the “Describing videos sign-up” google-document, or send a note to the email list (or contact Joanne).
  4. Prepare:
    -Watch the video a few times.
    -If you are new to describing cross-disability dance and dancers using mobility tools and using gender-neutral language when pronouns aren’t known, then please draft the description first (either a written script or audio draft) to share with the collaborative describing email list for any suggested edits.
    -To find out how an artist describes themself and what pronouns they use, please look up the artist’s website, a recent interview, or under the video title select the down arrow to see what they wrote in their video description.
    -If you have financial resources, hire artistic consultants from local blind and disability communities to collaborate.
    -Do a test of using your audio recording program and microphone if not built-in to the device, and to test volume of your voice.
  5. Possibly record an audio introduction to the video excerpt:
    -IF providing context prior to the video excerpt seems important (such as for a quick or busy video or group piece), create a short audio introducing the video: read out any text from the start of the video (such as video title and artist name); if relevant could include a one-sentence bio from the company or artist’s website or artist statement about the piece; and “set the stage” by briefly describing the setting and introducing the dancers and theme.
    -Name this file with the Video Name – audio intro. (for example: Musa Motha – audio intro.mp3)
  6. Record an audio description of the video excerpt:
    -In between dialogue and important audio, describe the visual elements of the video, such as key movements, relationships, body language, tone, setting, costumes or regalia, and scene changes. Also read out on-screen text such as important captions that have not been spoken, and video credits.
    -Please try to start the video excerpt playing and the audio recording at the same time if possible – could have someone assist if this is tricky.
    -for recording if video is on YouTube:
    record your verbal description without the video audio in the background (listen to video with headphones) and name this file Video Name – description (for example: Musa Motha – description.mp3). The audio description will likely be uploaded to YouDescribe after.
    -for recording if video is on Vimeo:
    play the video excerpt on one device (e.g. computer) with video audio playing in the background, and on another device (e.g. smartphone) record audio of you verbally describing the video. Name this file with the Video Name – video description (for example: Musa Motha – video description.mp3). Or if tech-savvy, record and save as two audio tracks then also save a combined version.
    -(Totally optional: If you’re feeling ambitious, you could choose to create an audio description for the whole video instead of just the excerpt. This is potentially more useful to the artist.)
  7. Deliver the file:
    -Save the files as mp3 (or .m4a) audio files and upload it to the collaborative “Describing videos” online folder (or email it to Joanne).

We’re also looking into another option for YouTube videos of recording the description directly using YouDescribe to add descriptions instead of #5-7 above… Is anyone familiar with YouDescribe?

If anyone has tips, suggestions, concerns or ideas, please do be in touch!

Once audio descriptions for video excerpts are ready, it will be uploaded to a resource web page alongside video excerpt links. (We hope to also have a transcript of captioning from the January 25th event available afterwards, in case anyone would like to learn to create captions for uncaptioned videos, such as through the Amara website.)


Resources – examples of described dance:

From Kinetic Light’s website about the Audimance app they are developing: “What if your audio description experience offered you choices—different styles of description, soundscapes, poetry, prose? What if you could listen to dance as an aural artistic experience and not just someone’s description of the experience?”

All Bodies Dance Project- Translations Part 2 video has examples of various styles – tactile describing, narrating body movements, metaphor, story, layering of styles.

DESCENT by Kinetic Light audio described teaser

Dancing Disability 2019 Short Doc [Audio Described] – example of traditional audio description, for a documentary with describing between spoken dialogue, and excerpts of dancing

Bangarra Dance Theatre Education Resource (with Audio Description) –  describer allows pauses and a sense of rhythm between describing, but please note that this description is very binary gendered – unless you know the specific pronouns that a dancer uses, please use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/ them/ their.

Article by Naomi Brand – Translations: A research project for blind and partially sighted viewers

Otherwise by Danielle Peers and Lindsay Eales (described and captioned) – example of embedded poetic audio description, that goes for a crip aesthetic practice of audio description

Unspoken Spoken – a dance film from Candoco Dance Company (Audio Described version)

Article by Maribel Steel: Why Go to See Live Theatre if You are Blind?

Article: This is what accessibility sounds like (James Dinneen: Brooklyn Rail, Sept 2019), which includes an example of a tone poem.

There is an example of a text description of INCLINATIONS after the Teaser Video on Alice’s page about the film.

Article by Ria Andriani: I love theatre and I’m blind. Here’s how that works.

Samples of Audio Description (not of dance) from the Audio Description Project

If you come across examples of audio described disability-focused dance videos, feel free to send the link.

Which styles of dance description are you interested in?

Greetings,

This note invites input about what styles of dance and live describing you are interested in.

First, we would like to introduce our group. The InterdepenDance Collective is passionate about collective access and growing connections among communities.

We are organizing inclusive dance workshops and events with live describing. Because describing dance is different than theatre audio description, it’s a learning curve for us. Below are three questions we want to ask local communities:

  1. When attending dance performances, what styles of dance are you most interested in? (perhaps list 3 or 4 styles)
  2. What approaches to dance describing do you think might appeal to you most as an audience member: metaphor, technical narration of physical actions, option of tactile describing, storytelling, soundscapes, layering different styles, all of the above?
  3. As a participant in a dance workshop, what styles of dance description do you think you would be most interested in: metaphor, technical narration of physical actions, option of tactile describing, storytelling, soundscapes, all of the above?

The InterdepenDance Collective is excited to connect with more people interested in described dance. If you have any questions or would like to connect, contact Tiffany by email at embrace.arts.victoria@gmail.com or Joanne by phone at 250-812-2501.


Optional online form

In case tabbing through an online form works for you, there is a form below. The form asks for your Name and Email, followed by text boxes for the three questions mentioned above. The form ends with a text box in case there is anything else you would like to mention. Then tab to the Submit button and press enter to send the form.

Dance Accessibility: An invite to join the movement!

Want to learn more about accessibility in dance and the performing arts?

Would you like to help out at upcoming events so that everyone gets to dance?

The InterdepenDance Collective, in collaboration with partner organizations, invites you to contribute to decreasing barriers at upcoming events.

There will be a Dance Accessibility Orientation on:
Sunday February 9
3:00pm-4:30pm
at Gordon Head Recreation Centre’s Feltham Room.

The orientation will focus on volunteer roles that are available for two upcoming events:
Integrated Dance Forum on Sunday February 16, and
Introduction to Choreography with All Bodies Dance Project workshop on Friday February 14.

People of all levels of experience with dance (including beginners) are invited to help out.


To register for February 9:

Either send a quick email to Joanne@creativemoment.im with the Subject: RSVP February 9,
OR register for one of the two upcoming events to confirm your spot (and on the registration form check off that you can attend the February 9 orientation):
-link to register for February 16 Integrated Dance Forum.
-link to register for February 14 Introduction to Choreography with All Bodies Dance Project.

The events are organized by the InterdepenDance Collective, in partnership with Saanich Community Services, Gordon Head Recreation Centre, Creative Momentum, Embrace Arts, All Bodies Dance Project, Victoria Disability Resource Centre and Garth Homer Society, and with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Made in BC- Dance on Tour.

Dance Films January 25th

The InterdepenDance Collective invites you to join us for:

Integrated Dance Films

Saturday January 25th, 2020

 2:30pm – 4:30pm

Free!

At FLUX Media Gallery

821 Fort Street, on the ancestral land of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People.


About the event

This event is to introduce the public to mixed-ability dance and dance from disability perspectives.

As well, the event is a chance for dancers who experience disability to come together and experience the work of colleagues in other cities.

Films and video will include work by artists such as Alice Sheppard, Danielle Peers, Geoff McMurchy, All Bodies Dance Project, and Embrace Arts. There will be video excerpts of dance artists based on six continents, with a focus on the West Coast of Turtle Island.

Please do not use any scented or fragranced products before coming to the event.

Photo of nine dancers huddled together, crouched and seated, attentively staring to the left.
Photo from All Bodies Dance Project. Photo credit: Erik Zennstrom.

Optional snacks

Feel free to bring a snack to share, with a list of ingredients (large print or size 18 font). Please avoid bringing common allergens (i.e. No nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, gluten, milk/cow dairy). Thank-you!


Please RSVP

Here is the event RSVP form. Space is limited.

An alternative way to RSVP is by contacting Joanne.


Access notes

Accessible washrooms for all genders are available next door at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre.

The Flux Media Gallery entrance is level off of Fort Street. The door is not automatic, so there will be a volunteer near the door available to open it.

Please request interpreting, captioning and describing by January 20th:
-A sign language interpreter is available.
-Captioning and transcribing are confirmed.
-Audio description: Some of the videos have audio description available. There will be live describing for the remaining videos, by artists who are learning to describe dance. Audience members can choose which styles of live describing they would like (for example, narrating physical movements, metaphor, optional tactile describing, layering styles).

For other questions and access requests, contact Joanne or include it when you RSVP.


To watch the videos after the event:

In case joining in person does not work, a webpage will be available after the event with links to many of the videos shown at the event. The webpage with links will be shared on the integrated dance south island listserv. To join the listserv, connect by email.


To help spread the word:

Link to Facebook event page

Link to event Poster


To volunteer:

There are volunteer roles available: greeter (and available to assist with the door), describing team, childminding, set up and clean-up. Please sign up on the RSVP form.


Upcoming events

The film event is in advance of the Integrated Dance Forum on Sunday February 16th, and an Introduction to Inclusive Choreography with All Bodies Dance Project on Friday February 14th.


Event supporters and partners

This event is organized by the InterdepenDance Collective, in partnership with MediaNet, Victoria Disability Resource Centre, Creative Momentum and Embrace Arts.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. This project is made possible, in part, with the collaboration and support of Made in BC-Dance on Tour.

Dance Celebration December 9th

The All Abilities Dance Group invites peers to join us:

Winter Celebration

Monday December 9th

from 11:00am-11:45am

at the Garth Homer Auditorium.

The group is creating a winter-themed dance to share Dec. 9th. The Nigel dance group will share a very brief dance as well.

After this there will be a dance party open to anyone who would like to join in!

Please send song requests and RSVP numbers to Joanne@creativemoment.im by December 6th.

If you arrive before 11:00am, feel free to find a spot in the audience. Please do not interrupt the group dancing (they have a rehearsal from 10:45-11:00am).

Please note that there might be photo and video documentation of the All Abilities Dance Group’s dance. If anyone in the audience does not want to accidentally be in video or photos, please sit towards the back or sides of the audience. Thank-you.

Colonial Reality Tour

Colonial Reality mini-Tour for dancers
Tuesday June 25th
7:00pm

at Esquimalt Gorge Park
on Tillicum Road just south of the Gorge Waterway.
We’ll meet at the bottom of the main parking lot (closer to the water) by the bike racks.

Event description:

The Colonial Reality Tour is guided by a Lekwungen community member to identify places of significance to local Indigenous peoples and the colonial institutions and names that mark them.

Cheryl Bryce has offered to guide a short version of the Colonial Reality Tour for dancers on June 25th by Camossung. We will stroll to a few tour stops, for about an hour.

Space is limited. Please RSVP by June 24th at this link and note any access needs. The route will be shaped by the accessibility needs of the group.

Admission is free.

This event is open to anyone involved in dance who would like to attend (such as community dancers, dance artists, dance facilitators/ teachers, and family members). It has been organized by a few members of the islands network for collaborative dance.

Thank-you to Made in BC – Dance on Tour’s community engagement program for supporting this event, which is part of a dance project that is also supported by the CRD Arts & Culture Support Service and the Victoria Disability Resource Centre.

Bringing a water bottle is encouraged.

Buses number 8, 9, 11, 14 and 26 go to the area.

We apologize that there has not been more advance notice for this event, and look forward to seeing those who can attend.

Dance Visioning June 26

You are invited to brainstorm about integrated dance! What types of all abilities dance initiatives would you like to be part of locally over the coming year/s?

Dance Visioning: Wednesday June 26th.
Two time options (choose one): 11:00am-12:30pm, or 1:30pm-2:30pm.
At the Victoria Disability Resource Centre’s boardroom, at 817A Fort Street, in the homelands of the Lekwungen peoples.
ASL Interpretation is available for the 11:00am-12:30pm session.

Please register by June 24th at this link: https://forms.gle/dTAfjeHyeugkZ43j7 .

The morning session will be co-hosted by Amber (Dancer & Artist) and Joanne (Creative Momentum), and the afternoon session will be co-hosted by Tiffany (Embrace Arts) and Joanne.

The visioning will help shape local dance opportunities for this Fall and over the coming years.

This gathering is a follow-up to last year’s Mixed-Abilities Dance Group, in collaboration with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre. This event is made possible with support from CRD Arts & Culture Support Service and Made in BC – Dance on Tour’s community engagement program.


A head’s up about an opportunity to dance this Fall: There will be integrated dance collaborative sessions on one Wednesday per month. For more information see the Integrated Dance Collective page.

Winter 2019

You are warmly invited to join these dance groups in the New Year:

All Abilities Dance Group: A Monday morning all abilities dance group starts January 21.

55+ Dance Group: An inclusive, collaborative dance group, mostly 55years+ (but younger folks welcome), starts with a free introductory session January 18. 55+ Dance Group sessions are Fridays 10:30am-11:30am at Cedar Hill Rec Dance Studio.

Autumn 2018

Here are dance groups inviting new participants this month:

Fifteen dancers are improvising, with three duets smiling in the foreground

Mixed-Abilities Dance Group: A new inclusive dance group is starting on September 20th. Mixed-abilities dance group sessions are free and are on Thursdays 1:00pm-2:00pm. The group includes people who experience disability as well as people who don’t experience disability.

Photo: two adults dancing facing each other looking down

55+ Dance Group: An inclusive, collaborative dance group, mostly 55years+ (but younger folks welcome), starts with a free introductory session September 21st. 55+ Dance Group sessions are Fridays 10:30am-11:30am at Cedar Hill Rec Dance Studio.

Photo of ten people dancing, some holding hands, some on their own, five people seated and five people standing.All Abilities Dance Group: A Monday morning all abilities dance group in collaboration with a local non-profit organization.

Invitation for ideas and suggestions: This season we will be checking in with folks through a survey about what types of sessions or groups people would like to be part of in 2019. The survey will be sent through the Dancing for Wellbeing newsletter; if you would like to sign up your email please use the contact page.