International Deaf Street Dance Project by Billy Read

Proposal to Dance Development Organisations in UK

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International Deaf Street Dance Project Tours the UK

· Book a workshop led by an international deaf dance crew to inspire your dance trainers to get deaf people dancing and involve young deaf people in dance.

· If you have a performance context – Book a night of scratch dance, an inclusive event with outreach workshops to deaf and hard of hearing young people in local schools and workshops in local deaf clubs. All with goal of bringing them to your dance venue.

Profoundly Deaf dancer Billy Read travels the world on a mission to dance with Deaf companies and Deaf individuals. They all love street dance and they all believe the barriers to dance education for the Deaf and hard of hearing are the same everywhere. Together they feel the music, picking up signals from vibrations; volume penetrates the body, dance is visual.

Now Billy wants to bring home to England his international dance crew because here in the UK, unlike when he’s abroad; there is not a real presence of dance in Deaf culture. Billy say’s, “There are many Deaf people, both children and young adults, who are interested in dance and would love to take classes. The problem is there isn’t any dance classes out there that are accessible to Deaf people, so they are forced to consider mainstream dance classes if they want to learn dance. The problem with this, is deaf people don’t have the confidence to attend a class full of hearing people, especially when they feel they won’t be on the same level as hearing people because they’re Deaf.”

It is hoped that, with the support of Arts Council England funded organisations, bringing professional international Deaf dancers to the UK will inspire the Deaf community to become more active and be able to take a keen interest in dance, continuing to use the dance agencies after the event. It’s going to be tremendously inspiring, working with Deaf street dancers from around the world – especially if they aren’t aware that there are international Deaf dancers who not only learn dance together within their Deaf communities, but also train to a professional level that they compete against hearing dancers and beat them in mainstream competitions.

Billy Read feels that in mainstream dance networks, it’s tough for Deaf dancers to break through. So it’s important that this project raises awareness in the British Deaf world about the achievements of Deaf dancers internationally; they are professional counterparts who happen to be Deaf or hard of hearing. It will also inspire people in the mainstream like dance trainers and choreographers, who will have the opportunity to learn how Deaf people adapt to dance; their different methods of learning and training.

The aim of this is to hopefully train hearing dancers to become aware of Deaf dancers in their own classes and to further encourage isolated or aspiring Deaf dancers to come and be part of mainstream classes.

Billy Read will be bringing the following individuals and key members from Deaf companies, who have competed and won awards in mainstream dance competitions, to the UK.

Limit Break (Japan)

Limit Break (Japan)

Limit Break Crew (Japan)

Limit Break, led by Daichi (Daisuke Sato) have been dancing actively for over a decade, honing their skills to a professional standard.

Jason Fun Forrest (Hong Kong)

Jason Fun Forrest (Hong Kong)

Fun Forest Crew (Hong Kong)

Fun Forest, led by Jason Wong, have been performing dance on the stage and on TV around Hong Kong and the Far East since 2008

Nicholaus Nero (India)

Nicholaus Nero (India)

Nicholaus Nero (India)

– Age: 28
– Experience: 10 years
– Dance styles: Salsa, Contemporary, Hip Hop

Nicholaus has trained extensively in Salsa, Contemporary and Hip Hop dance styles under many acclaimed instructors and went on to win awards in numerous salsa tournaments, representing India and ranking World No.8 in the World Salsa Championships in Hong Kong.

 

Sergio Ruiz Suarez (Spain)

– Age: 29
– Experience: 10 years
– Dance styles: Hip Hop, Locking, Popping

Sergio is highly trained in street dance styles and an experienced performer and teacher. Some of highlights include working with well-known commercial artists such as Nelly Furtado.

Marcos Paulo (Brazil)

Marcos Paulos (Brazil)

– Age: 28
– Experience: 10 years
– Dance styles: Capoeira, Breaking, Hip Hop

Marcos is a talented street dancer who has performed and toured with several companies in Brazil as well as with Graeae Theatre Company in the UK.
Ava M. Blake (Germany)

– Age: 30
– Experience: 10 years
– Dance styles: Hip Hop, Contemporary, Bollywood

Originally from India, Ava grew up touring with a mixed Deaf and hearing dance group around India, before moving to Germany and then the UK.

Natasha Blake UK

Natasha Blake UK

Natasha Blake (United Kingdom)

– Age: 25
– Experience: 15 years
– Dance styles: Latin, Contemporary, Hip Hop

Natasha grew up in the mainstream, being highly-trained in numerous dance styles in schools and companies of which she was the only Deaf person. She is currently touring in Europe with a hearing dance company, performing Michael Jackson-themed dances.

They all share the same background in dance and are attracted to street dance because you don’t have to do formal (inaccessible) training. Billy Read explains “I am a street dancer inspired by the highly visual styles of Michael Jackson. I’m a Michael Jackson Impersonator (because of being a huge fan) who followed and learnt his dance moves. Michael Jackson was influenced by street dance and he still influences modern street dance artists today. There are no strict rules like there are in Ballet, so everyone can dance and you can find your own way, so for me as a Deaf person wanting to dance; I was influenced by the style and the music.” Billy Read was twenty one when he started to dance, and like Sergio Ruiz Suarez and Marcos Paulo its easy to see why he find’s street dance liberating. Defining the oppression that draws a Deaf person to street dance is a little more difficult. Billy Read asks, “Why are Deaf people doing street dance more common than trained Deaf dancers?” Billy has no difficulty in finding Deaf dancers to dance with him in his company, “Def Motion” and for Unlimited Billy Read chose two out of eight Deaf street dancers from around the world.

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