Millions of people watched Deaf model Nyle DiMarco dance his way to the Mirrorball trophy as champion on ABC’s hit TV-show Dancing with the Stars. For the members of the San Antonio Deaf Dance Company, it was especially meaningful.
“Watching Nyle win was a huge milestone for Deaf people everywhere,” says Director Carol Ann Broderson. “It was amazing to see a Deaf person who was proud to be Deaf and proud to use our native language of American Sign Language on a national platform. He is such a role model and amazing representative of our Deaf culture.”
For the last 20 years, the San Antonio Deaf Dance Company has provided deaf and hard of hearing students from the San Antonio area with an outlet to express themselves through dance. The Company is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a public performance Friday, July 29 at 7 p.m. in the Marshall High School Auditorium, 8000 Lobo Lane. Admission is free but donations are accepted.
Every summer, the one-of-a-kind leadership program for middle and high school deaf and hard of hearing students hosts a month-long dance camp where participants learn new dance routines from guest choreographers. This year 32 students are part of the program.
“My favorite part of watching the kids, is seeing the huge transformation within them from year to year,” says Director Carol Ann Broderson. “I really think they just want to show their parents, family, peers and the community that they are just like any other person. They are proud of themselves and who they are as Deaf individuals.”
Students are learning routines that range from hip hop to lyrical dance. The performers and choreographers are hearing impaired, and though they cannot hear the music, it is not a barrier. They can feel the vibrations of the bass in the music, amplified through large speakers. Choreographers teach the steps to counts, and then repeat them over and over so that students can memorize the routines.
For more information visit the San Antonio Deaf Dance Company Facebook page.
Watch this NISD-TV video to learn more about the Company’s past performances.