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Dance and Deaf People

Everyone Feels the Beat
By Davidshka Shavers
April 5, 2009

Everyone Feels the Beat

Dancing has been a passion of mine for many years. I love to dance. I belong to two dance companies, the Automatic Legendz (ALZ) and the New Direction Christian center (NDCC) Praise dance team. Both dance teams have two very different styles of dance. ALZ dance company focus on Hip hop and modern dance moves to where NDCC is more lyrical praise and worship to God. I have been with both companies' for more than four years.

Through out my years of dancing I always thought that the hearing impaired community does not dance, simply because they cannot hear the music. I have come to realize that this is just a common stereotype of the hearing impaired, and that the only difference between the hearing and the hearing impaired is simply the fact that one cannot hear.

There are two famous dance shows, "Americas Best Dance Crew" and "Dancing with the Stars" that have both helped me to realize that someone should not be underestimated just because they have a disability. The hearing impaired dancers who have appeared on these shows serve an example for anyone who may have been under the same impression that I was in thinking that the deaf community didn't or couldn't dance.

"Americas Best Dance Crew" is a reality Television show on MTV where dance groups from all over the United States compete for a $100,000 prize. This Dance show was produced by American Idol judge Randy Jackson. On this show's second season a dance group by the name of A.S.I.I.D (And so it was Done) made its premiere with a hearing impaired dance member, Joey Antonio. He was born with this disability and "started dancing as a little kid, when he saw his parents doing line dancing and immediately jumped in to join the fun" says ABDC Insider. Joey is a very talented dancer and he has set high standards for those who are hearing within the dance community. The way he dances is like he hears the music. His movements are all on key. Its amazing how this guy dances.

He showed not only me, but America that the hearings impaired are no different than the hearing. You do not necessarily have to hear the music in order to feel the music. People who cannot hear are able to dance because they rely heavily on their other senses such as rhythm, touch and sight. "The issue is not so much that we are deaf dancers, but that we are dancers just like any other dancer," said Sheridan, (James). Along with hip hop dancer Joey Antonio is Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin.

Marlee Matlin is also hearing impaired and made her appearance on ABC's Television show "Dancing with the Stars." She "became deaf in infancy due to Roseola Infantum. However, deafness has not disabled her or her career" (Famous People with Disabilities). She can not only dance but she is an actress and also a comedian. "Matlin's selection is a breakthrough for the hearing impaired, who say they are more often stigmatized by misconceptions than by their own limitations" (James).

People often underestimate individuals with hearing disabilities. Individuals like Matlin and Antonio serve as prime examples of people with hearing disabilities. They have taken the stage and opened the eyes of many ignorant people. By them showing the world their talents they have help to do away with many of the common false stereotypes surrounding the often underrepresented deaf community.


ABDC Insider. July 2,2008, A.S.I.I.D.'s Joey: Proving The World Wrong


JAMES DONALDSON SUSAN. Feb. 19, 2008. Marlee Matlin Shows How Deaf World 'Hears' Music, Deaf Actress to 'Dance With the Stars'


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