Dance in­struc­tor hosts classes for blind

South Taranaki Star - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JANE MATTHEWS

For two years Maria Cash­more has had a project in mind and she’s fi­nally swing­ing it into life.

Cash­more has de­cided to in­struct part­ner dance classes for the blind - for free - to give them an op­por­tu­nity like no other.

‘‘I don’t know; but I as­sume when you’re blind there would be some level of sad­ness that you can’t do things with­out your rel­a­tives help­ing you out or with­out your dog,’’ Cash­more said.

‘‘I think they will ben­e­fit from be­ing able to go out and ac­tu­ally lis­ten to mu­sic and do some­thing dif­fer­ent.’’

Cash­more, the dance in­struc­tor for South Taranaki Part­ner Dance Com­mu­nity, reg­u­larly does six-week lessons but ad­mit­ted she had never taught to a class like this to the im­paired.

‘‘It’s all the­o­ries and con­cepts at the mo­ment,’’ she said.

‘‘But just imag­ine your­self waltz­ing with your eyes closed and your part­ner just takes you that’s pretty much it.’’

Un­der­stand­ably dance may not be for ev­ery blind per­son, but Cash­more thinks there are peo­ple who would be in­ter­ested.

‘‘I have heard that there’s ap­prox­i­mately 70 reg­is­tered blind in South Taranaki and there’s more in New Ply­mouth,’’ she said.

‘‘And If there’s a lot of in­ter­est in New Ply­mouth then I will go and travel there even­tu­ally.’’

She went on­line to see if there were any other blind dance classes in New Zealand but couldn’t find any­thing.

‘‘So this is all my the­ory - I will use it and I think it will work.’’

Cash­more uses a range of teach­ing tech­niques in her usual classes. The only dif­fer­ence with the blind classes is she won’t use her vis­ual tech­nique.

‘‘My the­ory is when you lose one sense, other senses get height­ened,’’ she said.

‘‘So I’m go­ing to tap into three dif­fer­ent senses - so that’s the feel­ing or move­ment, and the sound and beat of the mu­sic and also what we call in part­ner danc­ing, a lead and fol­low.’’

The blind dance classes will be held once a week for six weeks in both Strat­ford and Ha¯ wera. They start on Novem­ber 7.

The classes will run from 5.30pm-6.30pm at the Ha¯wera Pres­by­te­rian Cen­tre on a Tues­day and at the Se­nior Cit­i­zens Hall in Strat­ford on a Thurs­day.

Cash­more en­cour­aged fam­ily mem­bers to come along and give it a try too. For any in­quiries talk to Maria by call­ing 0277271749 or go­ing on­line to www.taranaki­d­ance.co.nz.

JANE MATTHEWS/ STUFF

Maria Cash­more, of South Taranaki Part­ner Dance Com­mu­nity, is about to start her dance classes for the blind.

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