Legally blind, Brilynn Rakes must work differently than other ballet dancers. “Most people use their sight and the mirror when they dance,” says the 17-year-old, who wowed “Dancing with the Stars” viewers last night in a Spotlight Performance with Derek Hough. “I don’t. I have to go by what I feel.” Rakes was born with nystagmus and cone dystrophy, also called “dancing eyes” because it causes the eyes to shake constantly. Though any dancer will agree working without the mirror is a challenge, Rakes’ purely kinesthetic approach to ballet has made her a strong, technical mover. She recently attended The Juilliard School’s summer program on full scholarship, and aspires to a professional career.
Watch Rakes’ “DWTS” performance here: