Dancers in the Dark, photo essay by Eva Clifford[E]arlier this year, I travelled to Mexico to follow the story of a group of blind girls taking ballet as a form of therapy. Psicoballet, as it is known, is a Cuban psychotherapeutic dance method founded by Georgina Fariñas Garcia in 1973. Founded upon the idea that dance is rooted in our biology, Psicoballet claims to boost self-esteem, decrease anxiety and depression, and improve the body’s balance and mobility.
One young woman dedicated to teaching Psicoballet is Lorena Nieva, who has applied the method to her own dance practice in Mexico. Each weekend, Lorena voluntarily travels the 130 km distance from her hometown of Puebla to Mexico City to teach this group of blind girls.
For this series, I accompanied the group on a trip to the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico. We travelled seventeen hours to reach the small coastal town of Tonalá, where the girls were performing two dances at a school. For many of the girls, this was the first time they’d experienced the ocean too, so it was a particularly memorable trip for them. (Eva Clifford)