Last week, I had a fantastic opportunity to watch my friend Hearns Barba Sebuado perform with Deaf Men Dancing, DMD, in Leeds.
The performance was held at the Thackray Medical Museum, which holds one thousand objects of Deaf history. This is a fact I didn’t know before the performance and was told during the Q&A afterwards. So much Deaf history on my doorstep – wow!
The production ‘Let Us Tell You a Story,’ part of the Exceptional and Extraordinary project, was very refreshing to watch.
It was choreographed by DMD’s artistic director Mark Smith and told six varying stories about Deaf history.
Some of it I could identify with because of my own personal experiences. I don’t want to reveal too much but I found artistic ways to reflect on my own experiences.
The three dancers Anthony Snowden, Shane Dennis Pearson and Hearns Barba Sebuado were very expressive and have worked extremely hard. They learnt the routine in two weeks! Something that took Mark Smith a year to research and devise.
Shane Dennis Pearson, who’s from Wales, told me after the performance that he wasn’t fluent in sign language as there were no D/deaf people around him when he was in high school. This shows that Mark Smith was keen to use dancers from all aspects of D/deafness.
I did feel that the production wasn’t widely advertised to the D/deaf community in Leeds. This is because I only saw a few faces I recognised.
It was however, for a mixed audience of D/deaf and hearing people. The hearing audience loved it as it explored aspects of deafness they weren’t aware of before. The D/deaf audience loved it because it displayed Deaf talent! We need to see more productions that positively broadcast Deaf talent.
I would be very keen to see more productions like this up North as the majority of things occur in London. D/deaf people do exist outside of London, don’t you know?!
Deaf Men Dancing are on tour. They have finished Leeds and Edinburgh. The dates for London are as followed:
Wednesday 22nd June 6:30pm
Hunterian Museum Royal College of Surgeons of England London
Tickets £10/ concession £5
Tickets and enquiries;
Wednesday 29th June 6:45pm – 10pm
Part of Museums Late programme
This event is FREE no advance booking needed.
Here’s the Exceptional and Extraordinary’s website: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/rcmg/projects/exceptional-an
I would strongly recommend watching them and supporting your own fellow D/deaf artists.
I wish them all the best for their careers!
Read more of Lianne’s articles here.
Lianne Herbert is a deaf professional writer. Lianne is also on a Copywriting course to enhance her freelance prospects. She is currently involved with the West Yorkshire Playhouse on a Playwright course.
You can follow Lianne on WordPress, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Her user names are ‘Lianne Herbert’ or ‘Lianne.Herbert’. She also has a personal website –Www.LianneHerbert.co.uk.
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