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Speaking figures

In Flanders, the supply of performing arts with audio description for the blind and visually impaired (AD) remains scarce. After the two-year research project ‘ArtInAD’ at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, in which Max Greyson developed and published methods for the artistic integration of AD in music theater, in Speaking figures he will focus on contemporary dance. Of all performing arts, AD users have the least access to this art form, on the one hand because of its abstract and non-verbal nature, and on the other because of the limited supply of AD. Central question is: how can the need for AD be removed by making dance accessible in other artistic ways?

The research creates connections between movement and description and enhances accessibility artistically. It builds on methods from ArtInAD such as self-description, the addition of story line and the provision of information by means of sensitive and auditory elements. In addition, ‘Speaking figures’ wants to go deeper into how description can be a means of artistic self-reflection to give an artist insight into his own artistic practice.

‘Speaking figures’ departs from a theoretic frame and then turns to practice in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp Dance Department. ‘Speaking figures’ aims to create added value both artistically and socially. The development of methods for artistic accessibility can bring about social inclusion of people who have little access to culture, in the hope that the need for AD will be eliminated and that AD users will not only be able to experience performing arts when there is AD, but will be able to choose when and where they attend a dance performance.

(Image: the silhouette of a slender dancer standing on her or his tiptoes in an open doorway, in a dance pose with legs crossed, hands on the doorframe and head bent slightly downward, with a sunny garden behind the doorway.)