Wild Zapper, Common Ground Sign Dance Theater Company, Rathskellar – The 4 Jack, ChanDanse De Sourds, Russian Soul, Arai Dance Show, China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe. Dynamic names for groups of very talented, high-energy performers who have won awards and inspired countless people around the globe.
Incredibly, all these groups are made up of dancers who are deaf. Literally, they can’t hear the music they’re dancing to. Some of the dancers were born deaf; others lost their hearing due to accidents or illness during infancy or early childhood. Some have some residual hearing, and may use traditional hearing aids or cochlear implants. Some communicate by reading lips; others rely on the use of sign language.
Who are these remarkable people, and how have they made a name for themselves in what might be considered a profession that’s only accessible to people who hear?
The China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe is a group of twenty-one young male and female dancers. They are most famous for their Thousand Hand Guan-Yin dance, a breathtaking performance depicting an ancient Chinese deity with many arms and hands. This group’s tight coordination and elegant artistry has thrilled audiences around the world. They use four human, hearing “conductors” who stand unobtrusively at the corners of the stage to cue the dancers into their next steps.
Wild Zapper is an all-male deaf dance troupe in Maryland, USA. These young men work with kids, letting them experience funk, hip-hop and jazz dance styles, while teaching a little American Sign Language in a fun environment. They give workshops and other educational programs that have won them high accolades and loyal fans worldwide.
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