Dancer in the dark

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July 14, 2017
Dancer in the dark

PERFORM: Nathan Adriaanse, who is partially blind, jets off to dance in Canada and USA next

Flats guy doesn’t let being blind stop him dancing all over world.

Not even losing his sight could stop this Cape Flats dancer from chasing after his vision of success.
Nathan Adriaanse has been travelling all over the world busting moves for Showtime Australia, who brought us groundbreaking shows like The Michael Jackson History Show, as well as The Whitney Houston Tribute Show, starring songbird Belinda Davids and currently on at the Artscape Theatre.

Nathan’s schedule is propvol until December, with gigs in Canada, the USA and the UK already in the bag.

But his future was not always so clear.

The 27-year-old was born with best disease, also known as vitelliform macular degeneration – a genetic condition that affects the retina.

The disease usually only affects people later in life, and as a youngster, Nathan excelled in soccer, cricket and even rugby.

“I was good at playing sports as I wasn’t affected by vision impairment as much,” he says.

“I would sometimes notice losing slight vision at night and later started to worry when it happened, but being a child, that was the least of my worries.”

Nathan says he gave up sports when his eyesight became worse.

“I couldn’t play sports anymore because my vision started getting bad at night and I’d bump into things; people laughed at me.”

He then went on to dancing while ignoring his eye problem and landed a role in a Showtime Australia production two years ago.

“My friends uploaded videos of me dancing to YouTube. I was spotted by the production owners who called me up to join the Elvis tribute show in 2015 in Johannesburg.

“I went for casting and learnt the routine within two days.”

He was given a permanent post and then toured with Showtime Australia for two years.

“I danced on big stages in Europe, Australia, Austria, Singapore, USA and more,” he says.

But his eye problems continued and at one stage, he could only see as far as his hand stretched out – he could not even see the audience he was dancing for.

Nathan was diagnosed with best disease and in May this year he went for lazer surgery to repair his eyesight.

He now has full vision in his right eye and 75-80% vision in his left eye.

“I’m not cured of the disease but for now I’m okay with having a better vision.”

Nathan’s message to aspiring dancers is “to always bring your own sunshine”.

“You’ll experience big and small audiences, but don’t let that affect your performance, you bring your own sunshine.”

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