March 12, 2014 4:31 pm
Updated: March 12, 2014 7:14 pm

Visually impaired dancers to take centre stage at CNIB performance


TORONTO – Ramya Amuthan,20, can now add dancer to her long list of accomplishments.  The York University student was selected to participate in this year’s Vision Dance Encounter, an organization that teaches blind or partially sighted people how to dance.

Born with low-vision, Amuthan proved that with the right attitude and solid dedication, anything is possible.

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“Dancing makes me feel so excited because I’ve never danced at all,” Ramya said.  “I thought that I’d never get an opportunity to dance, to move, I mean even exercising in public was a big deal for me.  So dancing, it just makes me so excited.”

Darius Zi, founder of Vision Dance Encounter decided to start the program after a medical disorder almost left him blind.

“Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with a disorder in my eyes and I was told that if this progresses, I will lose my vision,” Zi said.  “I’m lucky that today it didn’t progress.  Nonetheless, I lived with the anxiety and uncertainty.  Life experiences suddenly inspired me to build a dance production around the story of a blind person and tell that on stage.”

Every Sunday at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Zi, along with dance coach Laura, teach a group of dancers, something Sue Marsh-Woords, the manager of client services at CNIB said has done wonders for its participants.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to participate in a mainstream activity, for our clients to have the opportunity to develop confidence, to participate in something that is going to build their social skills.”

The gala will feature the Vision Dancers performing alongside other international superstars will take place this May. Zi can’t wait to share the performance with the public.

“You know, they are so talented.  I can’t tell you how many times I had tears in my eyes seeing that progress of these dancers.  It’s just incredible!”

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