Beyond Ballet Sensory Guide

This is a list of possible sensory impacts you may experience while viewing this performance. Part of the magic of live dance and performance is that unexpected things happen, so not every moment can be accounted for. This guide was created for PNB by Dr. Ferdico at Sensory Access.

The performance takes place at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle, WA. Seating is stadium style, with two aisles in the center and two and on either side of the Hall. McCaw Hall is configured with an orchestra section on ground floor and two layered balconies above.
Run Time: 1 hour and 46 minutes, including two 20-minute intermissions.

General Considerations

After each act, the dancers spend a significant amount of time completing their bows, accompanied by sustained applause. This is then followed by a 20 minute intermission.

The soft sounds of ballet pointe shoes scuffing on the floor and the dancers’ respiratory exhalation should be expected throughout the performance. Audience members can expect soft, pleasing visuals and movement accompanied by calming music from the live orchestra or piano.

Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven

Top of Show
Approximately 12 minutes


  • Stage goes fully dark
  • Dancers begin with no music, but sound of bell tolling
  • White strung objects hang from ceiling
  • Spotlights illuminate the dancers on stage,
  • Lighting
  • All dancers are dressed in simple white unitards against the black background
  • Soft string music plays
  • Ongoing sound of ballet pointe shoes moving across the floor

Sensory Considerations: Headphones

Second Movement: Small Group
Approximately 6 minutes


  • Possible applause between movements
  • Bells toll 67dB

Sensory Considersations: Headphones

Third Movement: Solo
Approximately 5 minutes


  • More tolling of bells
  • Music swells to 70 dB
  • Prolonged moment of stillness signals the end of the movement

Sensory Considerations: Headphones


Ghost Variations

Top of Act: Duet
Approximately 3 minutes


  • Stage goes full dark
  • No set, a stark stage with soft white lighting
  • The back wall acts as a screen that dancers can dance behind to cast shadows
  • Light comes up slowly, never bright
  • Dancers dressed in all black

Second Movement: Small Group
Approximately 3 minutes


  • Dancers silhouetted on stage
  • Light slowly comes up, but never too bright
  • Piano plays quietly and builds to 71 dB

Third Movement
Approximately 5 minutes


  • Music builds to 77dB
  • Dancers move behind the screen and lighting is manipulated to distort proportions of shadows
  • Possible Applause

Fourth Movement: Solo


  • Stage utilizing screen and shadows
  • Just piano

Fifth Movement: Duet


  • Stage is now black so you can not see screen, just use of a single spotlight on dancers
  • Just piano


The Personal Element

Top of Act
Approximately 20 minutes


  • No set – Stage is stark with focus on dancers
  • All white lighting, soft
  • 8 dancers dressed in plain white
  • Music plays from back of theatre, some sounds are unsettling
  • Piano begins from the stage after 1 min with low isolated notes, starting slow then increases tempo and complexity, 65 dB
  • Mix of piano and recorded sounds play from behind the audience – reaches 74 dB
  • Piano plays some dissonant sounds throughout.


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