The Deaf community in the UK and worldwide is celebrating this morning after Deaf model Nyle DiMarco won America’s Dancing with the Stars competition (the equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK).
DiMarco came to prominence last year when he won TV show America’s Next Top Model, and also previously appeared on the TV drama series Switched at Birth.
Below you can see a video of Nyle and his partner Peta Murgatroyd doing a Freestyle dance routine to “The Sound Of Silence” by the band Disturbed, as part of the final:
In recent weeks, Deaf people across the world have been sharing weekly videos of his latest dance routines on social media, and this morning, the response to his victory has spread across social media, with Mark Levin, of America’s DPAN (Deaf Performing Arts Network)(and a writer for this site) saying: “He’s been a phenomenal advocate, and a voice for a community often perceived as voiceless.”
In an emotional moment, judge Carrie Ann Inaba signed a specially-learnt response to”The Sound Of Silence” dance which had him in tears (watch this directly on Facebook thanks to Whipclip here).
DiMarco has consistently used the publicity gained from his appearances on the show to raise more awareness of Deaf issues, in particular giving Deaf children the opportunity to learn sign language.
With his routines on Dancing With the Stars getting rave reviews, he was invited in April to the White House to meet President Obama, deciding to make the most of this opportunity to communicate directly with the President by taking along Gallaudet University’s President Roberta Cordano as his guest.
His victory last night was also an opportunity to share his message, his Facebook post saying:
This video from Daily Moth shows the remarkable celebrations seen at one Deaf centre in Austin, USA when the result was announced:
The Limping Chicken would also like to pass on our congratulations to Nyle – well done and thank you!
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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