Improving Dance Through Total Vision Awareness: A Workshop

By Ernest V. Loewenstein, Ph.D., O.D. Optometrist

Dance is a visual medium – for the dancer, as well as for the observer. Movement requires visual awareness. Consider these essential questions:

  • Where are you onstage?
  • Are you in the right spot in relation to other action?
  • Is your distance from others correct?
  • Do you know where other dancers and objects are located, even when you aren't looking right at them?
  • Can you look at the conductor without getting lost?

Total visual awareness means more than just seeing a single object. It means seeing a whole scene – what’s close by and what’s farther away – and understanding the relationships of the individual objects or performers on stage to each other. This is the capacity that enables a dancer or actor to move with assurance and precision on the stage while playing his or her role.

Most people have adequate peripheral vision, but not awareness. Performers, however, must learn to focus on a central object or place while accurately placing peripheral objects or performers around it. There are exercises to help performers develop their peripheral visual awareness – and learn to see both the whole stage and the individual parts in or on it.

A one-hour workshop is available to explore the aspects of vision that can help faculty, students and professionals improve their performances on stage.