Journey Through The Senses International Exhibition

Los Angeles, Spring 2022

Zoe Marinello-Kohn and Lyndsey Gago are the Curators of The Dance component page.

Welcome! We are Zoe and Lyndsey. We are dance professionals and synesthetes. Four years ago we participated in the first ever Synesthesia Dance Experience in Los Angeles, CA.

We were honored to perform amongst talented individuals with unique perceptions just like ours. Now we’d like to take a moment to tell you who we are as individuals.

Hi I’m Zoe!, I’m a professional ballet dancer, choreographer, actor, and artist. I received my ballet training at the San Francisco Ballet School and at the Academy of Ballet under Richard Gibson. Since then I have had the joy of dancing with such notable companies as Cincinnati Ballet 2, Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota and the San Diego Ballet, where I am currently employed for my 9th season.

I was an original cast member of Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet and had the honor of performing at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and at the Festival of Families held for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in 2015. I am also an actor in the American Immersion Theater and Murder Mystery Company in San Diego, California.

I am a polysynesthete, meaning that several of my senses are connected. My mind visualizes sounds, touch and scent. I experience grapheme-color synesthesia and perceive letters, numbers and time in color and shapes. I, like many synesthetes, was unaware for most of my life that my perceptions were not shared by most people. Now that I understand this difference I am energized to explore the perimeters of my reality and it is difficult to imagine my life without synesthesia.

You can learn more about how my synesthesia affects my dancing in this interview titled As if Dancing Through Watercolors .

I’m Lyndsey – I’m an LA native and have spent over ten years studying and training dance and aerial acrobatics. I’ve performed in shows, coached artists for videos, spent evenings as living decoration, modeled in gorgeous locations, and guest-judged aerial competitions. I’m certified as an aerial coach and personal trainer, and (my favorite) I’ve taught hundreds of students the amazingness that is dance and aerial arts.

Despite my addiction to the physical, my synesthesia shows up in words. Each letter pairs with a color, which I can see overlaid on text as I read it. Whole words have a color as well, which looks more like a faint aura and tends to be a spectrum of the first letter to the last one. The letters in the middle of the word can change color or be toned down slightly depending on this spectrum shift.

For example, I get words like ‘while’ and ‘library’ mixed up, because the letters have such a similar coloring. The letters ‘W’, ‘L’, and ‘Y’ are all types of pink. ‘A’ is bright red and ‘E’ is a deep orange. ‘I’ is a white that lends itself easily to changing with its neighbors. The rest of the letters are very different colors (‘H’ a light green, ‘B’ blue, ‘R’ black and also lends itself to change), but they’ve been toned down by the pink auras of the words.

I find the human body and mind fascinating. I am epileptic with a host of interesting symptoms that seem to quiet when I dance or I’m in the air. For this reason, I’ve dedicated my life to learning more about how the body and mind affect one another. This is one reason amongst many why I’ve paired myself with Journey Through The Senses’ team. We have a common goal: to share knowledge and experience to a like-minded community.

You can learn more about how my epilepsy affects me and my dance career in this essay entitled My Modern Dance Experience. We want to hear your story too!

If you are a dance professional, teacher or student, scientist or conducting research in relation to dance or physiology we want to hear from you!

Our lives are enriched by the sharing of our experiences. By embracing our neurological differences and similarities we gain insight into the perceptions of others. It is our desire to create a space of acceptance and empathy and celebrate the exceptional visions of the neuro diverse in the dance community.