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.

Bailey Vincent

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.

Michele Wiles

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.

For more inspiring videos, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

Skid Row Carnival Highlights Help for Homeless

Skid Row – the image that immediately comes to mind is not pretty… a desolate street with boarded up windows…downtrodden people lurking in the shadows...broken glass…darkness…despair…

The Skid Row Carnival of Love is an initiative that is working to change all that. Its goal is to build community by providing resources and love to an often forgotten, and overlooked sector of one our largest cities: Los Angeles' homeless population of Skid Row. For one day, it's all about unconditional love and coming together as a community.

Keep reading... Show less

The Creation Of Us (S2:E2) – A Perfectly Imperfect Relationship

From the very first day that Heather and Christen physically bumped one another at a local bar on Long Island, these two women knew that there was something special between them. In this episode of The Creation Of Us, each shares some of the stories that have taken them from those first charged moments of a new relationship to a life where they share a home, 3 dogs, and a commute to an office where they literally work back to back in the same room!

Keep reading... Show less

The Creation Of Us (S2:E1) – Meet Christen and Heather

Christen Samuels and Heather Fazzino both grew up in strong, opinionated, Italian families. Old school. Traditional. This made things a bit more strenuous for these women on their road to becoming a couple. In this first episode of the new season of The Creation Of Us, Christen and Heather share the stories of how they grew up, the people around them who were major influences, and the key moments each experienced that made them realize they were different.

Keep reading... Show less
Fans' Top 5 Hits

PRIDE! In Provincetown - FEC Family Week

OnlyGood TV embraces diversity and supports dignity, equal rights and self-affirmation! We are celebrating PRIDE Month by sharing inspiring stories that feature our LGBTQIA+ community.

Family Week is one of the preeminent events of the non-profit advocacy group, Family Equality Counsel. The group advocates for equality for the LGBTQ community and Family Week in Provincetown, MA is an opportunity for families to come together from all over the country to find support and community with other like-minded and alternative families.

Keep reading... Show less

A Dog’s Journey Home (E10) – Prepping the Pittsburgh Puppies

How do you keep 62 dogs in a van happy and comfortable on a 1,600 mile journey? In this episode of A Dog's Journey Home, Scott Whyatt, co-founder of Tracy'sDogs, shares his secrets for caring for all of these pups as they set out for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where their new, loving families anxiously await their arrival.

Keep reading... Show less

WWII Vet Runs Cross Country to Save His D-Day Ship

Ernie Andrus, now in his 90's, is running cross-country to raise money in order to put the LST 325, the ship he served on in the Navy during WWII, back on the beach in Normandy where it supported the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

This LST 325 is the only LST ship left (out of 1,051 made) that has been fully restored and still operational. Plans were initially made for a D-Day memorial service in 2014 for the ship, but it was canceled because of a shortage of finances. This inspired Ernie to start a project called, Coast2Coast Runs to raise money to honor his old ship.

Keep reading... Show less
Fans' Top 5 Hits

The Cycling Studio Flash Mob Proposal That Went Viral!

OnlyGood TV embraces diversity and supports dignity, equal rights and self-affirmation! We are celebrating Pride Month by sharing inspiring stories that feature our LGTBQIA+ community. Today we reflect on the epic Valentine's Day flash mob proposal that took the world by storm!

It was love at first playlist! Adam Keller, a JoyRide Cycling Studio instructor, took Valentine's Day 2016 to create a wedding proposal to end all proposals! Adam planned this top-secret, expertly choreographed, flash mob, cycling class proposal, asking his boyfriend, Jared Marinelli, also a JoyRide Instructor, the magic question... WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Keep reading... Show less

Celebrating Inspiring People on National Cancer Survivors Day

OnlyGood TV is joining in the Celebration of Life that is National Cancer Survivor Day by honoring those who have survived and supporting those recently diagnosed. The inspiring stories that we share below are reminders that there is life after a cancer diagnosis that can be fruitful and rewarding. Here are just two stories about cancer survivors:

Keep reading... Show less
Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter