Stacey Horton’s third concussion was the worst.
Horton is a dancer, and while doing an outdoor rehearsal in 2016, a part of the set made from a PVC pipe collapsed and hit her on the head.
“I didn’t quite realize what was going on,” Horton said. “The first couple days I was so foggy and then the headaches started and I thought ‘oh this is a concussion.’”
Concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injuries have potentially long-term affects including memory problems, emotional instability and an increase in anxiety. The side effects of concussions can be brought on sooner and last longer when multiple head injuries occur.
Horton struggled with her own recovery, often feeling overwhelmed and at a loss for words, and facing stigma for being the “walking wounded.” Now, Horton changed this walk into dance by orchestrating an all-abilities friendly performance called Concussion to convey the experience.
“It’s a visual interpretation of emotion and experience of living with trauma, and the recovery from having multiple concussions,” she said. “It’s got a story, there’s a playful element to it, but it has darker undertones and a more serious flavour of trauma and loss.”
The 45-minute performance includes costumes and props to demonstrate the feeling of being concussed including splay of ping pong balls which represent scattered memories.
Concussions also affect some peoples’ ability to process visual and audio stimulation, so Horton wanted to make the show inclusive for a neurodiverse audience with the help of the Cridge Centre for Family’s Brain Injury Services . The show will be the first dance performance in Victoria to have visual interpretation available for those suffering from concussions or living with visual impairment.
Interpretation will be done by VocalEye, and involve interpreters who use imagery to describe the dance moves. An American Sign Language interpreter will also be present on the Jan. 25 performance.
“This show is about sharing empathy, the goal is to connect,” Horton said.
Horton choreographed the show which features sound sound from David Parfitt, who will provide live soundscapes for the performance, costume and set design from Catherine Hahn, writing from Kevin Kerr and movement direction from Lori Hamar.
The show will run at the Intrepid Theatre at 1609 Blanshard St. from Jan. 24-26 at 7:00 p.m., with a matinee show at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 26. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $15.
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