Duluth ballroom dance instructor wants to teach the blind how to - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Duluth ballroom dance instructor wants to teach the blind how to dance

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A Duluth ballroom dance instructor wants to teach a group of people he never has before. 

Alex Loch is a candidate for the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition. If he wins, he'll get $25, 000 to take his dance classes on the road, teaching dance across the country…to the blind.

"It's called Blind Ballroom: Teaching Dance to Blind Communities," said Loch of his project proposal.  

Loch is up against almost 200 other proposals, all with ideas on how to help the blind community.

"My hope is that beyond that sort of one-time fun experience, that some of those people will feel kind of motivated or empowered to recognize that ballroom dance is something they could do as sort of a lifelong activity," said Loch. 

It's a project that for Loch is personal. 

"I'm legally blind and a lot of people don't always realize that because my vision doesn't always require me to carry a white cane or use a guide dog," Loch said. 
Loch was born with a condition called Rod Monochromatism. He's missing the cells that allow a person to see color and handle light.

"So, usually light is very sensitive. So I'll kind of squint at times," said Loch. 

Loch is the President of the Twin Ports chapter of the National Federation of the blind. He was at a national conference when he saw a salsa class for the blind, sparking his idea. 

"I'm confident it was actually many of those peoples' first times dancing socially, like in a partner dance, and they looked so happy," Loch said, "It was overwhelming how happy they were."

Loch hopes his proposal will spread that happiness. 

"I don't want this community to feel like they can't do anything because of their vision. You know, vision and blindness shouldn't be sort of a limiting characteristic. It doesn't define a person."

Loch says he's going to work with his chapter of the National Federation of the Blind on how to teach dance to people who can't see. He says he'll have to learn how to give clear auditory cues instead of teaching visually. 

Loch will find out at the end of this month whether he's a semi-finalist for the Holman prize. The winner should be announced in July.

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