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'Blind Rhythm' class provides vibe for visually impaired dancers in San Diego

Shon Mackey, who became blind six years ago, is the dance instructor for a program called "Blind Rhythm."

SAN DIEGO — Sometimes you don't have to see something to know it feels right. In this Zevely Zone, I was invited to the Blind Community Center of San Diego in Balboa Park.  

"Keep your arms in motion with a kick. Here you go," said dance instructor Shon Makcey leading a large dance class.  

What I was seeing, the dancers could not.  

"You are totally blind?" I asked one dancer.  

"Yes", said Su Chin Loggins.  

"Are you aware of how big the smile is on your face?" I then ask. 

"Oh, thank you, thank you," Su said laughing. 

Su Chin Loggins may see darkness, but her joy filled the room and could light any night. 

"Do your thing, do you. Here we go," said Shon Mackey still leading the class. 

Shon is the dance instructor for a program called "Blind Rhythm." 

"It's the vibe, you feel the vibe and the vibe is more than you can see and that is how I look at it," said Shon. 

RELATED: Blind Community Center: Honoring volunteer who always lights the way

Six years ago, both of Shon's retinas detached and even though he became blind, he knew his life had to go on. 

"My message, basically, is that you are as good as anyone else. It's not the years in your life, it's the life in your years," said Shon still dancing. 

Many of the dancers, like Mary Gay, are totally blind. She used to be a well-known tap dancer so why stop at 92 years old?  

I told her I observed her sitting in a chair and tapping her foot to the beat. 

"Yep. I used to dance all over San Diego," Mary said.

Which is much better than never being able to dance at all. 

"Come dance with me, OK?" said Joyce Porter dragging me on to the dance floor. 

Sometimes when a dance floor heats up you receive an offer you can't refuse, but poor Joyce Porter asked a guy with two left feet to dance. 

"I can see what I'm doing and I'm terrible," I said.  

Shon then tells me sometimes you can see too much. 

"The key is listening to my voice. If you're watching me, you are doing too much." 

So I closed my eyes and sure enough, Joyce and I found our our groove. 

"I see that you are handsome," she said to me.  

"Now, we need to check your vision," I responded with a blush. 

Joyce is only legally blind but on this dance floor, she and her friends are a family. 

"I am motivated weekly to get in here and get booking," said Joyce.     

The Mission of the Blind Community Center is: to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired adults, preparing them for a normal, active life in a society that is principally sighted. 

Established in 1949, the Blind Community Center of San Diego is a family alright. Anyone can see that. 

The Blind Community Center of San Diego is always in need of volunteers and donations.  For more information about the Blind Rhythm program go to bccsd.org.

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