Rockettes Pick for Dancer of the Week: AGT’s Visually Impaired Dancer
Who: Benjamin Yonattan
Why we chose him: Benjamin Yonattan, a 14-year-old dancer who is visually impaired and suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare condition that causes the skin to blister, captured the heart of viewers when he auditioned this past Tuesday for NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Not only did Benjamin, who is from Kalamazoo, Mich., get a standing ovation for his contemporary dance performance, but received rave reviews from all four judges (former Spice Girl Mel B told him: “I’m so glad you graced our stage today … you are unstoppable!”) and is moving on in the competition.
Fun fact: Although he was diagnosed with retinal dystrophy at age 12, Benjamin was fortunate enough to get back on the dance floor (he has been dancing since he was 5 years old!) thanks to Google Glass—the wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that displays information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format. Because his range of sight is comparable to looking through a straw, the Google Glass takes an entire landscape and compresses it into a small frame, ultimately allowing Benjamin’s peripheral vision to expand 70 percent.
Rockette kicks (on a scale of 10 to 10!):