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Breaking the Silence

Communication and Integration

An expressive movement and dance project involving Body Talk, a group of children with hearing impairments from The Beverly School for the Deaf and Middlesbrough Youth Dance. Both groups worked with Tees Dance Initiative to create an original dance-work entitled Breaking The Silence.

The piece was performed at Arc, Stockton, as part of a Community Dance Day on August 5th during the International Riverside Festival 2 0 0 1 .

The project also allowed the participants to attend the contemporary dance performance by Vertigo Dance Co at Arc on August 3rd, as part of their intensive week of improvisation, research and rehearsals.

The theme of the Body Talk performance piece was communication and integration. Body Talk and Middlesbrough Youth Dance initially worked separately, coming together for a week’s residency to work more intensively on the development of the piece.

During the project the hearing children were taught British Sign Language by those with hearing impairments, which were drawn upon as expressive movements within the dance-work.

Carpet Films documented the process of creating and performing the dance piece and of integrating the two groups. The video is an excellent documentary, with interviews from relevant people, and footage of the final performance. Each of the young people received a copy of the video.

The performance at Arc was a great success, with a large audience filling the theatre. The youth group appeared at ease and worked very well together and enjoyed the experience of being part of the Youth Dance Performance.

On the night of the performance I felt they had such confidence and presence in themselves that had come as a result of working through the week and realising that they could do it. There self esteem went up 99%.

Kim Hugill — Teacher at Beverly School for the Deaf

Many of the group expressed an interest to work together in the future and tees valley arts sought to develop the project further. Unfortunately there have been some major changes in provision for the education of deaf children in Middlesbrough and many of the children had to change schools, making a continuance of Body Talk problematic.

Overall 19 young people accessed the project.