Deaf Choreographer Creates Touching Ballet For Deaf And Hearing Communities Alike
BalletNext's search for innovation led the New York City-based company and its Artistic Director Michele Wiles to a first-of-its-kind production, a ballet called "Follin."
"Follin" is a performance that incorporates American Sign Language in both language and movement. To create this accessible piece, Wiles teamed up with deaf dancer and choreographer Bailey Vincent. Their hope is to encourage inclusivity within the dance community, and to increase awareness of the needs of people with hearing impairments, without sacrificing technical or artistic standards.
Vincent and Wiles met after Vincent sent the NextBallet founder a cold email pitching her idea. Now, the collaborators are 2 of the 5 dancers who perform in this groundbreaking ballet.
Both women express their hope that the emotional impact of their piece will resonate across audiences of varying abilities. Vincent believes it will be touching for deaf audience members, because "it elevates this language that means so much to the deaf community." And as for hearing audience members, Wiles says that "it's going to open their eyes."
This HooplaHa original video is produced by Dani Guitelman, shot by Fanny Texier, and edited by Kellie Sieban.
Vincent began losing her hearing in her teens due to a medical condition called atypical cystic fibrosis. Her internal metronome allows Vincent to dance in time without hearing the music. In her daily life, she reads lips in interactions with people with full hearing; and when she's choreographing, Vincent communicates through an interpreter. She trained at Rockbridge Ballet in Virginia before college and later danced with a small company in the DC-metro area. Today, Vincent is the Director, Choreographer, and a Dancer for Company360.
From left: Bailey Anne Vincent and Michele Wiles. Photo by Albert Ayzenberg, Courtesy Overdrive PR.
Wiles founded BalletNext in 2011 and serves as its Artistic Director. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 10 she moved to Washington D.C. to train at the Kirov Academy on a full scholarship. She was a Gold Medal winner at the 18th International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria; a Bronze Medal winner in Nagoya, Japan; and a finalist at the Paris International Dance Competition. She received a Fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation for 1999–2000, and won the Erik Bruhn Prize in 2002. After joining American Ballet Theatre in 1998, Wiles was promoted to soloist in 2000 and to principal in 2005. In 2011, she left American Ballet Theater to start BalletNext.
As BalletNext's search for innovation continues, hopefully we'll see Wiles and Vincent collaborate again soon.
Victoria Gouletas sensibly waited until after a Nor'easter had passed through their Connecticut town before venturing out to check for damage to her family's home. What she could not have expected was that a tree limb, weakened by the storm, would suddenly fall on her, forever altering the course of life for her and her family.
It was just one of thousands of new videos that are posted every day... but this one was different. Quickly, the story shifted into high gear and exploded as most viral videos do. It swept across the globe - 50,000… 300,000 … 1,000,000+ views - and overnight, Adam and Jared were social media stars.
A new baby is on the way and Trans Activist and motivational Speaker Aydian Dowling, and his wife, Jenilee, are clearly focused on planning for the future. This involves the need to think through how all the new things and new experiences they are going through will fit into their already crazy lifestyle.
At 15, Caly Bevier put her life on hold to battle ovarian cancer. Now, at 18, with her music propelling her forward, Caly is ready to release her new single, "Head Held High", and leave cancer in her dust.
Sonya del Gallego is a small, powerfully built, cheerful woman who doesn't exactly fit the profile of what one imagines when they think of a sumo wrestler. Not surprisingly, she is defiant in challenging gender stereotypes, and is an advocate for being yourself, regardless of whether it fits society's standards of "normal".
There's a bunch of teenagers swarming round a residential home, coming and going in a flurry and making a racket. Out of control party? Vandalism? Actually, these kids are volunteers, providing home repairs for elderly, disabled or low income residents in a small town, and trying to bring hope to their lives while making some lasting connections.
It's a given that adopting a dog from a shelter is a roll of the dice. There is typically little information about what that animal has been through and for how long, and the best you can do when you visit is take in what you see, hear, and feel and make your decision.