Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga-LaK8351s

This is the first part of an old documentary about my ballet company.

All of us in the main group are either fully blind or mostly blind. In my case, I am 75% blind (which is why I was able to bypass the captcha in the first place)

The other girls use text-to-speech programs to communicate through the computer.

Today I will be (kind of) speaking by all of us, so please ask anything about my biggest passion in life!

Comments: 155 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

confusedbossman69 karma

How do you know when you are done wiping after you poop?

sufferer109 karma

Oh my fucking God. Hahahahahah. We just kind of wipe it a shit load of times (pun not intended) and hope for the best. This strategy never failed before.

aMadBlackPriest4 karma

We?

sufferer42 karma

I'm royalty.

We as in we, the blind people.

RandoTheKing1 karma

[deleted]

sufferer3 karma

I don't know but it sounds traumatic.

foress19 karma

wow. i'd love to see you live. your "feel" must be amazing. with no distractions but just feeling the song, and moving your body to the melody... wow. what a breathtaking performance it must be.

sufferer23 karma

Thank you! Yeah, people tend to cry a lot when they watch us. A good cry, even. We sometimes invite people to get on stage with us, then we blindfold them and do a little experience thing, and then people cry even more, and finally understand what it's like.

millsmatt18 karma

Ok, ill ask...... Have you fallen off the stage into the front row before?

sufferer34 karma

Never ever, because all our staff take heavy precautions for that not to happen. They stay either on stage or behind the...sides? I don't know the terms in English. Anyway. They call us if we get to close to falling, they call us and snap their fingers so we know which direction to go to, they are constantly talking to us and we are constantly talking to each other. Not loud enough for the public to hear it, just enough for us to hear it between ourselves. We also make the 'recognition' of the stage whenever we perform. We all hold hands and a teacher guides us so we know how much space we have. All to prevent accidents.

Spaghettisaurus_Rex17 karma

In case you were wondering, the word for the sides of the stage is "wings".

sufferer13 karma

Oh thank you!

ajronmejden4 karma

That's because you need wings if you fall over

sufferer8 karma

That sounds really cute actually.

Horatio_Quaxton16 karma

:..;::..:.::;. .. :;...? Too soon?

Ok seriously, though. Have you always been blind or was it a degenerative condition? I have lost most of my hearing over the years and sometimes wish I was never able to hear to begin with. It's difficult when the things you love listening to become foreign, muffled, etc...It's like nostalgia, but WAY more gut-wrenching.

sufferer24 karma

I'm going to eat you alive.

No I was born like this. Not even the doctors know what I have. I'm 19 and it never improved or got worse, just the same thing all along. Which is kind of good I mean, better no news than bad news?????

And I'm sorry to hear that really :((( I can imagine how it must feel.

alekzander01-20 karma

If you're blind, how did you read that!?!

sufferer26 karma

All of us in the main group are either fully blind or mostly blind. In my case, I am 75% blind (which is why I was able to bypass the captcha in the first place)

The other girls use text-to-speech programs to communicate through the computer.

...???

The_Puntificator12 karma

I know little to nothing about dance, as I am hopelessly un-coordinated. However, I am given to understand that being able to see your own posture and form in a mirror is an important tool for improvement. What do you do in place of this? Do you think it gives you any advantages over sighted dancers? (ie. Better awareness of your body position without having to use a mirror)

sufferer19 karma

Haha well for me it's not really an advantage at all. In fact I had huge difficulties with my posture for the longest time, unless the teachers kept manually correcting me. One day a teacher put me against the wall to show me how it felt to straighten my back, and now I guess I learned. Now whenever he noticed I'm hunched over he goes "Remember the wall!"

But yeah like I think it's harder for all of us, even if we have more awareness of our bodies.

The_Puntificator9 karma

What made you decide you wanted to dance in the first place? Does your company travel? I would love to see a performance!

sufferer10 karma

I've danced since I was small, and I've always loved it. I had to stop but I came back as soon as I was able to, aka last year. We do travel quite often but most of them are to other cities and states of my country (Brazil). Before I joined, the girls had gone to a few countries like Argentina and the USA (New York), and in 2012, four of them went to be part of the ending ceremony of the Paralympics which was a great moment in the history of our company.

The_Puntificator5 karma

I suppose that Indiana, US is a little out of your normal tour then... :-( So what do you feel is one advantage you do have over other dancers? I'm sorry if I keep pestering, but you do at least two things I can not even imagine myself, and you do them together! I'm a little awestruck...

sufferer9 karma

Hey it's no pestering at all, I like it!

I. Don't think we have an advantage ahahahaha, it's terrible. Like, we can be equal to the sighted dancers in some aspects, but we won't ever be better. Maybe I'm not thinking hard enough, but I don't think we have special advantages. It's depressing. We're just special for what we can do even with our respective conditions.

The_Puntificator4 karma

There is no doubt that you are special for being able to do something that very few sighted people can even do! Do you have some habits or rituals that you go through before you dance for an audience? Does it bother you being on stage, or do you feel at home there?

sufferer8 karma

The owner is very religious, so whenever she goes with us, we all hold hands and touch our feet together just before performing, and pray. I'm not religious but I do it anyway because why the hell not! Then she always says something special or motivational, then we hit the floor with our hands and wish everyone "Merda" (literally meaning "shit", it's like good luck, man it's a country tradition I don't know how to explain and I don't know if you guys have it too).

Everyone used to tell me that I always get nervous on stage. I'm a perfectionist/have diagnosed OCD so maybe that's why, but lately I've been trying to be more chill.

The_Puntificator5 karma

It's bad luck to wish good luck on stage here too. "Break a leg!" is the common thing to say for luck before a performance. I am getting a giggle from your version though! A gamer ballerina with a potty mouth.... You are made of Awesome! I don't perform, but from my every day life, relaxing the need to have everything perfect helps me at work.

sufferer9 karma

I always find it really funny because when people see ballerinas they think "Oh wow, graceful pure innocent sweet angels! I bet they don't even know what a penis is." But if someone ever knew me in depth they'd just be like "She does WHAT in the internet?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"

MisterHandagote7 karma

[deleted]

sufferer8 karma

I have no idea because I still can't maintain my balance nor can I spot. My turns are absolute trash and the ones I do right are out of pure luck. There must be a technique for us but I sure as fuck didn't learn it yet. Turns are hard for every single one of us. There's this main girl who's been in ballet for 17 years and she can only do like 3 fouettés max.

rxzx3 karma

i wonder if TAG teaching would work? i recently read about a gymnastics coach that used that technique, it involves a coach using a clicker trainer to "mark" when the body is in the right position. as a dancer i was thinking of trying it myself. the theory is that the teacher/coach clicks when the body is in the right position and somehow the brain picks up on it faster than physical correction or comments. anyway turning is hard whether youre blind or sighted, i think balancing is key, but i cant imagine how hard it must be without sight, your story is very inspiring

sufferer3 karma

I never heard of it, and even now I still don't really understand how it works, but it actually sounds really cool??

DanDanSprinkles6 karma

How did you learn ballet if you where unable to see the positions?

sufferer11 karma

That's a very interesting question.

Fernanda Bianchini, main teacher and founder of our company developed a method of her own at the age of 15. We learn everything through touch. The teachers make the positions and we touch their hands/feet/body and replicate the movements on our own bodies. If we do something wrong, then the teachers correct us either by saying it or by touching us as well. This is how we learn everything, including and not limited to new choreographies and new steps.

Bombingofdresden6 karma

Has dancing drastically increased your ability to navigate your world? Better agility, reaction times, etc? Basically, I'm imagining you're Daredevil in a leotard. Which is pretty badass.

sufferer8 karma

I don't think this has to do with dance itself, more with the fact that it's a thing I really love, but I got more independent since I started dancing. I never went out alone until I was 18. But my mom had to work and I couldn't always go to all the classes I wanted, so I learned OM (Orientation and Mobility) at a specialized place and now I can finally go there alone whenever I want. It's great. I feel more free, y'know.

Bombingofdresden2 karma

That's fantastic. Independence, confidence, I could definitely see that increasing. Personal mobility is the one thing I fear losing in life more than anything else. That had to be hard to feel like you didn't have your freedom.

sufferer4 karma

It was scary at first to think that I was suddenly alone and didn't have my mother close to me all the time, but I got used to it fairly quickly. Strangers always offer to help me thanks to my white cane, so I don't feel like I'm completely alone.

Kai965 karma

Were you born with blindness or did you poke your eye with a stick or something?

Also you said you are 75% blind. Do see mostly black with little light, or is it just extremely blurry? Please describe? Also how do you manage to type with such a disability?

sufferer4 karma

I was born like this. I see colors and forms but I can't see things from far away like details or whatever. Can't read small font either, it gets blurry.

I'll tell you how I type: Years of gaming that's how. Hahaha, I memorized every key back in my gaming days, so now it's no sweat. But before that, I just put my face really close to the keyboard to see the keys.

iwannabeadoor3 karma

gaming? so what did/do you play?

edit: and sorry, but how are you able to play with 75% blindness...? i'm not sure I understand, or my imagination is limited atm

sufferer3 karma

Ok so do you know those people who use those ridiculously huge screen resolutions? That's me. Also, with a lot of pain and suffering, that's how I game. Brightness to the max, some text I can't read depending on contrast or colors, forcing my eyes like shit, etc etc.

I learned to type without looking by playing Fiesta Online, I think that was the game I dedicated myself to the most.

But I've always been a fan of MMOs. Played a lot of them in the past.

1man5 karma

just wanted to say this is one of the most amazing things i have come across.keep up the good work.personally though,Not sure if i am inspired anew or just feel like a pathetic loser

sufferer8 karma

Please don't feel pathetic! Use it as motivation for yourself instead!

Thatcrazykid125 karma

Did your years of gaming help with your coordination while dancing? Also, how is traveling around the world, like what do you think about the recognition your group gets?

sufferer7 karma

Not at all. My coordination wasn't always the best. What saves me is my effort and overall passion, hahaha.

I like it very much, I'm really poor so I could never travel before, and now I have the opportunity to meet a lot of new places thanks to ballet, because it's all expenses paid! So I stayed in many 5+ star hotels (even 8 star!) and I even went to another country, a thing I have never done before. It makes me really happy.

Thatcrazykid122 karma

Sorry for all of the questions, but whats your favorite place you've been to so far?

sufferer3 karma

Salvador, Bahia. Beautiful beaches, beautiful almost everything but mostly beaches.

And Argentina but just for the "ANOTHER COUNTRY!!!" factor, because we actually only went past the border to shop on a thing called DutyFree Shop. It was cool though.

Thepimpandthepriest4 karma

Do you still have the pretentious dancer walk?

sufferer7 karma

Whispers yes I totally do.

ECURLE4 karma

[deleted]

sufferer9 karma

I don't smoke or do drugs and if it depends on me I never will, sorry! I don't drink either but that's only because I take meds.

bisonlord4 karma

What is your Ballet Company called? I'd love to see a performance.

sufferer7 karma

Associação de Ballet e Artes para Cegos Fernanda Bianchini/Cia Fernanda Bianchini/Ballet de Cegos

I'd give you our FB but it's all in portuguese.

pteroso4 karma

Have you danced in a production of The Nutcracker? Which role?

sufferer6 karma

Yes! I did Guests (initial party), Guest's kids, Mirlintons/Reed Flutes (Pás de Trois), Waltz of the Flowers, and this year I'll do Snowflakes and Waltz of the Flowers again.

rabsi14 karma

Do you ever get dizzy?

sufferer7 karma

Like, kind of. My specific condition involves my eyes moving from side to side and never stopping ever. So if I spin, my eyes go everywhere and it's really weird and hard to make them come back to their place. I guess this counts as dizzy. I have to spin with my eyes closed.

But even the other girls also complain about being dizzy, so I guess that's normal.

Damey1 karma

Nystagmus?

sufferer1 karma

That's part of it, yeah!

TheDeadCountess4 karma

[deleted]

sufferer6 karma

Most. I can't do any turns. I said something like that above, all the pirouettes I do are out of luck. The more experienced girls somehow learned to spin though, but the most experienced of them (17 years of ballet) only does up to 3 fouettés, because it's really hard for us to do it without seeing.

I work "professionally" as in, I'm in the main group but still learning. I'll get paid per performance. Still didn't get anything yet because I joined the main group only this year, but I'm waiting.

And thank you!

mortuusanima3 karma

Can you dance en pointe?

sufferer4 karma

Yes! It's my favorite part ever. Worth the pain, worth the ugly feet, worth everything.

-harry-3 karma

What is dating like for you? How do you judge whether someone is attractive or not? Since most people are visually centered, what is your criteria? Do voices turn you on? How does that work?

sufferer5 karma

Instead of explaining, I'll make it simpler. It's just like internet dating! Like it's nearly the same thing but you can actually touch the person? Do you get what I'm saying? And the voice matters to an extent. If the voice is really ugly then it's a no no.

rashy121 karma

Sex or any sexual action seems like it'd be a little more challenging to get good at if you couldn't see. Is that the case?

sufferer10 karma

A tragic violin score starts playing as I murmur "I'm a virgin" while rain falls on me.

patchwarrior3 karma

How are you on the computer if you are blind? does the computer talk to you? how does it work?

sufferer3 karma

It reads the text on the screen, that's all.

willeatyoualive3 karma

Do you have any other interests? What would you do if you weren't a ballerina?

sufferer11 karma

My interests are not doing anything and making shit tons of money. No but really, I like gaming and collecting anything and procrastinating. If I wasn't a ballerina I'd be fat as shit, I assure you. Physical exercise is the only thing that keeps me in shape. Also I'd be something in the area of languages. I've always liked languages. I'm in uni right now for portuguese/english. I'd like to be a translator.

willeatyoualive2 karma

That's awesome- I wish I could speak another language. Did you grow up in Brazil and are you fluent in Portuguese? On a related note- what kind of music do you listen to?

sufferer4 karma

Yes I was born here and stayed here all my life, so not only am I fluent, I'm a native speaker hahaha.

I like classical music, yeah kind of a suck up, and I can't tell if I like classical music because I like ballet or if I like ballet because I like classical music. Both are amazing.

I listen to some pop songs that catch my attention, but that's about it. I used to be big on other genres but not anymore.

willeatyoualive1 karma

Oh! I guess I thought your company was in the States. I'm so impressed by what you guys do- it's a good reminder that we should all do what we love despite the odds.

sufferer4 karma

Oh yeah sorry I didn't exactly specify it hahaha. We are the only professional blind ballet company in the entire world and I'm so proud of it!

bwurtsb3 karma

This question is more for the ballerina part of you and not the blind part of you...

I always think of ballerinas as smoking hot flexible angels, does this apply to your company?

sufferer9 karma

Not all of us are flexible and I don't think all of us are smoking hot, but on stage we're all angels hahahah.

purplecardboardbox2 karma

How do you learn the ballet moves in the first place when you can't watch someone else doing them?

EatMoreCheese2 karma

How do you know what the other dancers are doing?

sufferer5 karma

We don't, unless we talk to each other constantly, either saying the steps or counting.

legomistress2 karma

How has dancing effected your feet

sufferer2 karma

The soles are really thick now and like I feel like a rhino whenever I touch my feet. The skin off the top of my toes peels off every once in a while. My nails are kind of intact though.

ThatsEpic2 karma

Have you seen "Black Swan"?

ThatsEpic1 karma

i hadn't read that before... just sayin'.

sufferer1 karma

Yeah I'm just copying and pasting so I don't have to answer the same question multiple times.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

sufferer8 karma

A lot of them are engaged or have boyfriends. All boys are sighted. I had a blind boyfriend but he was a player so we broke up. That was my first and only boyfriend. I'm ugly and/or suffer from self-esteem issues, whoops.

[deleted]-2 karma

[deleted]

sufferer3 karma

Hey if you do tell me I'm ugly that won't help at all hahahaha I'll just feel even more horrible about myself!!! And my self-esteem will crumble even more!

[deleted]0 karma

[deleted]

sufferer6 karma

He was bliiiiiiind.

nsgafc2 karma

What's the first thought that pops into your mind when someone hits on you?

sufferer5 karma

"Haha, it's clearly a joke isn't it."

LittleOmid0 karma

your lack of self esteems is really unattractive. brighten up, girl!

sufferer3 karma

It's a huge problem.

ObviouslyCurious3 karma

Why do you think that is? Even without seeing your face I can tell just by reading these comments that you are beautiful. You seem to have a kind heart and are very amicable. In more ways than one, you are more beautiful than even the most stunning supermodels.

sufferer5 karma

Thank you, ah. I guess this comes from years and years and years and years of being bullied and everyone using me as a joke as in "Hey why don't you date [sufferer] hahahaha." and boys calling me ugly, and girls telling the boys I had a crush on to make fun of me. That stuff.

It fucked me up.

ObviouslyCurious3 karma

I'm sorry to hear you were bullied. It is bad when it is on any kid, but It is especially cruel to a disabled child. There are plenty of sincere boys out there. Try to be so cynical that a person would appreciate you for your personality. It does happen. Remember Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

sufferer2 karma

Thank you for the kind words! And I only hope that karma will get them sooner or later.

TheParisOne3 karma

if you are any of the dancers on the photos online of your dance troupe, you have nothing to worry about. You are all pretty damn good looking :)

sufferer1 karma

TheParisOne1 karma

well, unless you are a rather masculine looking girl, or very feminine looking guy, as I say, you're all pretty :) and to be honest, even as a masculine guy or feminine girl, you're still not bad ;) and just checked with boyfriend, and he confirmed he'd have no problem asking any of the girls out ("unless they turned out to be a complete bitch, ofc - might change my mind then ...")

sufferer2 karma

Oh I'm a girl, hahahaha, and I consider myself fairly feminine. I guess my boobs would give me away even if I was masculine. But thank you, this makes me feel a little better hahaha.

iamanadviceanimal1 karma

I´m from Brazil and I´ve never heard of your company. What´s it´s name? How can I find out more about you guys?

sufferer1 karma

Ballet de Cegos Fernanda Bianchini, in São Paulo!!

Google either "Ballet de Cegos" or "Cia Fernanda Bianchini"

WafflesandWorldviews1 karma

Do you know if you're pretty?

sufferer1 karma

I have self-esteem issues so even if I was I'd still think not!

Dinahmoe1 karma

Hey, how ya doin!

I invented a dance for you! I was lighting director for Fla Ballet and my Bro was calling the show, asked me to check to see if the changes we did in rehearsal tracked through to the black out at the end of pas de quatre. This was in the 80's and computer boards were still kinda new, I clicked twice thinking I was in preview, but executed the cues and bam, blackout in the middle of the piece! (I hit back twice instantly) I told the girls I invented ballet for the blind! The paper blamed the blackout on the crappy electric we have here!

I don't have a question, just good luck and rock on!

Here is a blurry pic of one of the victims!

http://i.imgur.com/danEe7L.jpg

sufferer3 karma

Hahahaha that sounds pretty funny in that context. If it had happened to us we'd continue as normal, literally nothing would change.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

sufferer2 karma

Varies! I was born like this, our main ballerina lost her sight at the age of 9, some lost them at really young ages (1~3) and some never saw at all.

And I started as a child, always liked it ever since.

jackmeeker1 karma

what's your favorite kind of muffin?

sufferer1 karma

The ones that aren't dry.

shockwavemasta1 karma

How do you coordinate an entire routine?

sufferer1 karma

Aaaah can you explain the word routine for me? I don't know what this term means in english.

Marieh20101 karma

Do you dance on pointe? If so how do you maintain your balance? I have a hard time not breaking an ankle

sufferer2 karma

Yeah I do! And, I don't do anything special, but I was born with good feet. The so-called 'ballerina feet' so I use that to my advantage.

Marieh20101 karma

How do you know if you're expressing yourself? I always get corrections for that and I was wondering if its easier when you don't look in the mirror

sufferer2 karma

I get corrections too and I can't really 'express myself' all the time, it's hard for me. But I guess that comes with due time.

yannyboy1001 karma

how do you learn your dance moves if you are blind? Do people explain them to you, and you try to follow along, or do they move and position you accordingly?

CandyApp13-1 karma

not to be rude, but how do u type if ur blind?

nsgafc-1 karma

sufferer4 karma

Oh no the lyrics are so negative, implying that dancing in the dark is a bad thing!!! And from what I could see in the video was that someone's crotch? I feel personally offended and/or victimized.

KillUTillUDead-6 karma

whats the point of having a computer if you're blind

sufferer3 karma

I can still do many things in a computer.

KillUTillUDead-3 karma

how if you can't see the screen I'm not trying to be rude just asking and do you have some body reading all these to you

sufferer3 karma

Did you read the description?

chicks_with_hicks-6 karma

Have you ever seen the movie black swan?

sufferer3 karma

Not really! I'm not too much of a fan of movies even when it's about a subject I like hahaha. But my mom watched it and so I heard some of it.