I finally went to a dance performance. My goal was to see if I could follow the movement, appreciate a relationship about some aspect of what was happening visually and auditorily.
When I was in Chicago last time, I watched Swan Lake with Franklin and Debra, the people who have been hosting me when I’m in Chicago. The original plan was to watch the Nutcracker back when I was there in December, but then the weather got in the way. I didn’t think I could tolerate the music from the Nutcracker outside of the holiday season, so we opted for Swan Lake this time, since I had some vague idea of the plot. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see anything at all on a TV screen, although another study participant once said something in our private blog about seeing some movement while watching a sitcom.
Anyway, I was able to see some movement on the screen, although I can’t explain what made me able to see one dancer and not another. I’m also not sure how meaningful the motion I was able to see was. Toward the beginning, I focused in on one dancer where the movement in my head/on my tongue reminded me of one of those lamps with the band of light that bends and folds and twists inside out in an endless combination of movements. I doubt that I was actually capturing any of the dancer’s arm and leg movements although it was entertaining to observe whatever it was. I also couldn’t see enough to decide “That seemed like a festive movement,” or, “That seemed like a fearful movement,” as the figure went across the stage, although that was my best hope. I guess my biggest disappointment was that I was unable to see anything from this one scene that is supposed to be entrancing. The bad guy, Knight Rothbart, has captured all of these pretty maidens under a curse where they are swans during the day and maidens at night. In this particular scene, all of the swan minions are dancing together, captive to Rothbart. I think the point is that they’ve lost their identity and autonomy. Of course, I wasn’t going to be able to see them all looking as anonymous as possible, but I at least wanted to grasp the impact of the rows of swans simultaneously moving to the music. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture any of that. It was exciting to see anything at all, but that’s about as far as it went.
The performance I went to in person was called Cirque de la Symphonie. First of all, this was probably not the best one for me to go to. Back in January, Boulder Ballet and the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra performed Rodeo. At the time, I was a little hesitant, worried about how the device had given out on me before the Nutcracker, so I just didn’t want to commit to getting a ticket. In the end though, it probably would have been the perfect ballet for seeing as much as possible. Because they put the orchestra up on top of the stage with the dancers, the dancers have a very limited space to move around in. Apparently in Rodeo, they stayed within a 10’ piece of the stage. That would be perfect for the Brainport, because then I could zoom in and not worry about having to follow movements around the stage.
All that being said, I went to Cirque de la Synphonie, which is basically like Cirque du Soleil, but with a symphony accompanying them. Again, I could sometimes catch the movements of a person around the stage, but any of the specifics of what was going on were lost to me. So… I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this one guy was juggling live chickens and the chickens laid eggs while he was juggling them and then he was juggling the eggs while still juggling the chickens… and this woman had flames shooting out of her toes and she did backflips while roasting marshmallows… or at least that’s what I saw, and I’m sticking to it, damn it.
Shortly after going to this performance, I had to send the Brainport back to Wisconsin for its 3rd round of repairs. Apparently I’m hard on things? Although Meesa assures me I’m not, and it’s just that I got one of the first ones they made, so apparently they hadn’t quite worked out all the bugs. The problem this time was sort of interesting though. I went on a couple of walks, trying to work on my mobility, since I didn’t do such a great job on that at my last assessment. On these walks, things just didn’t quite look right, although I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I was getting frustrated, but I just told myself that I had to stop trying to get this version of things to look like the visual world did, and instead learn to interact with this version of the world. That meant just observing a walk, waiting for patterns to show up, instead of trying to “see” with my tongue. But one morning, I decided to work on cooking an egg in a frying pan, now that I have spatulas that are light enough for me to detect them with the device. As I moved the spatula into my field of detection though… even though I was holding it with my right hand and it was coming in from the right… I could swear it was moving from left to right across my tongue. I kept playing around with this, and there was no question, the movement was backwards, upside down as well. I spent more time, trying to see if objects were flipped as well, and although it was never indisputably clear, it sure did look that way. (Don’t worry, I did take care of the egg and remove it from the heat in the meantime, no burned egg). I was wondering if the reversal was in my brain or with the device. Sheepishly, I wrote Meesa one more email, who reassured me that I finally had a problem that had shown up with other people as well. On the positive side though, I should get the Brainport back by late Monday afternoon.
So, a couple of disappointments since my last blog, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m curious what things will look like through the recently gutted and rebuilt Brainport. All of that aside though, viewing the world through the prism of wanting to experience as much as possible through the Brainport has challenged me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I wouldn’t have tried watching Swan Lake or Cirque de la Symphonie, and next week I plan to go to the Chocolate exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, pausing to experience the escalators in Union Station, because I hear rumors that’s an interesting sensation. I will let you know what it’s like to lick a moving escalator, without acquiring about 46 different infections.