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Life after a traumatic brain injury is never the same. Without realizing it, we are silently surrounded by many who are adapting to a different, post-concussion existence. Victoria dancer, mother, and three-time concussion survivor Stacey Horton is the creator of Concussion, a multimedia dance performance that aims to build community around an experience so many share, yet so few talk about. “It’s an invisible condition. We forget it exists. So many people tell me that they, or someone they are close to, have suffered with this.”

Horton’s piece is a non-linear telling of her life inside three separate concussions. A melange of dance, spoken word, music and soundscapes created by film industry sound designer David Parfitt, Concussion illuminates Horton’s myriad daily challenges, and evokes the confusing distortions of perception and unpredictable inner terrors she’s confronted in her post-brain-trauma life. “I’ve created sequences of visceral sensation of being inside the concussion,” she explains, “recreating my physical sense of the brain—when it’s damaged, when it’s healthy—and showing these differences.”

Horton workshopped the piece and won the Crystal Dance Prize awarded by Dance Victoria. She applied for and received an equity grant from the CRD, which then led her to partner on the production with the Cridge Centre. “They have a brain injury department,” Horton enthuses. “I wouldn’t have connected with them unless I’d applied for the grant; it’s been amazing to learn about the services they offer for the families and supporters of those who have been affected by traumatic brain injury.”

ASL will be provided for the performances, along with a brand-new form of live, spoken audio that describes dance for the blind. “As much as possible, we are making it accessible,” she says. Her intention is to make the performance “immersive” for audiences, so she has chosen the Intrepid Theatre Club downtown. “We’re setting up 35 chairs in the round,” she explains. “It’s a tiny space, and we’ll fill it with sound, lights, and projections” as well as “ping pong balls that end up bouncing around in the space, to give that impact of…being in a world that is slightly more traumatic or bombarded than an everyday peaceful living experience.”

Jan 24-26 at 7pm; Jan 26 at 2pm (discussion to follow) at Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard St. $15 suggested donation, door only, reserve seat by emailing concussiondance@gmail.com.

Mollie Kaye

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