This week Selma Blair surprised audiences with her latest Dancing With the Stars performance as her partner Sasha Farber blindfolded her on the dance floor before beginning their routine. The actress has since explained that the unconventional tactic actually allowed her to dance better with the challenges that come with multiple sclerosis.
“The blindfold was really to cut out a lot of extrasensory noise that really brings about a lot of kind of MS-like pseudo flare symptoms, something that never happened when I was acting, but now it’s much easier for me to shut my eyes so I can have clear speech or concentrate on things,” she told Extra after Monday’s show, crediting “the genius of Sasha” for the idea. “I felt much more in my body. And it is an adjustment; the real darkness on the stage can be disorienting. But his choreography, you know, he keeps me really close.”
Blair shared her MS diagnosis in Oct. 2018 and has since been open about her health journey, sharing the ups and downs on social media and attending public events as she could. Her casting on Dancing With the Stars is the latest show of her strength and an opportunity for the Cruel Intentions star to represent the her community.
“This is important for me and for the people that are in similar boats to me, you know neurologically or just doing something totally new, that it’s so important to think outside the box. And I commend Sasha so much because in the past couple years I’ve really gotten to know the disability community very well and I very much consider myself an ally, but I’m in this process too of figuring out how to gain strength and more coordination and stamina,” Blair explained. “It’s just such a pleasure to find a partner that does that for me.”
Farber added that he feels “like I’m on Selma’s journey,” noting that he recognized the way that she was better able to focus on her body’s movement as other sensory experiences were blocked. “When you take away a feeling, the others heighten. And Selma, I’ve found in the few weeks that we’ve been doing this, she closes her eyes when there’s a flare-up and I feel like she feels comfortable when her eyes are closed,” he said. “I remember putting the blindfold on and telling her and she’s like, ‘Are you crazy?’ But then at the same time, she got all these goosebumps.”
While Blair is certainly a star on the dance floor, she shared that there are difficult moments backstage, especially as she faces unique challenges because of her health.
“I got in kind of a big moment of fatigue and, you know, I just have to cry sometimes and you hit something and that’s OK. … Sometimes things can just feel yucky and uncomfortable. … It’s always a growing experience,” she said of her experience thus far. “I’m so earnest about it, but this is really powerful to me.”
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