Deaf Choreographer Creates Touching Ballet For Deaf And Hearing Communities Alike

October 23, 2019 is World Ballet Day and OnlyGood TV celebrates the occasion with a special story that highlights how a deaf choreographer teamed up with an Artistic Director to create a ballet that adds American Sign Language as an integral part of the dancer's movement.

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.

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

This Women-Run Gourmet Catering Company Trains Refugee Women in Cooking and Service

The global refugee crisis is ever-present in the news these days, but the United States has received displaced peoples from all over the world for a long time now. The catering company we'll tell you about today found in this crisis the inspiration for its mission: to train and employ refugee women who are eager to establish new, fulfilling lives in their new homes.

Keep reading... Show less

Millennial Woman, Writer, and Actor Thrives While Accepting Her Down Syndrome

The core theme of the recent 2020 World Down Syndrome Day celebration was "We Decide" – a call that "all people with Down syndrome should have full participation in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives."

Annemarie Carrigan is a shining example of what can be accomplished when this theme is taken to heart. She is an actor and writer, living with Down syndrome, and her story was shared by Joey Travolta and his company, Inclusion Films, as part of the annual celebration.

Keep reading... Show less

These Kids Are Flipping Houses To Help Build Their Community

Reality TV is has a number of shows that highlight the fast paced, rough and tumble world of house flipping featuring adults who specialize in this area. Enter 9 year old Alianna Hines – she is the boss and CEO of Junior Flips, LLC, a company run by kids that takes distressed properties and transforms them into beautifully renovated single family homes in Washington, DC. and Maryland.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

21 Golden Retriever Puppies Go On An Afternoon Adventure

They frolic! They play! They chase and tumble. And you will never be so excited by the idea of puppy breath! Check out this video and watch the painfully adorable afternoon adventure through a meadow with 21 Golden Retriever puppies. You read that right, 21 Golden Retriever puppies! Frolicking through a field! What could be better?

Keep reading... Show less

Learn The Secrets Behind Unwritten Recipes - Daily Diversion

Not every kitchen creation comes from a cookbook. Sometimes it's the story behind the recipe that makes it taste that much better! Learn the family secrets that make her creations so special on this brand new episode of "Unwritten Recipes" with Felicia Levinson, an OnlyGood TV Original Series.

Felicia, mother, thespian and comfort cook creator, concocts dishes from the recipes she learned from mother, grandmother and other special family moments. Every dish comes with a story and every one is packaged with love.

Find delicious recipes on Felicia's food blog at: https://www.facebook.com/unwrittenrec...

To see more OnlyGood TV FAMILY videos, visit us at: https://www.facebook.com/hooplaha/

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onlygood.tv/

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/onlygoodtv

This Charity Plants Food and Hope! – Meals By Grace (P2)

Inspiring hope for those going through tough times is at the core of what "Meals By Grace" is doing for their community in Cummings, Georgia. In Part 1 of this story, we showed how volunteers for this non-profit met every Sunday to prepare meals for students and families in need so that they have nutritional food for their homes.

In Part 2, you will learn how their efforts go well beyond providing food. As the Meals by Grace volunteer force got larger, they developed programs to also help families get back on their feet after setbacks in health or employment. One effort created guided sessions in life and job skills to fill these gaps for families in difficult circumstances.

Keep reading... Show less

81-Year-Old Priest Revives Tough Boston Neighborhood

For the past 10 years Father Richard Conway has been a fixture on the streets of Dorchester, a tough neighborhood south of Boston which has seen its share of gang violence and upheaval. He doesn't wear a bulletproof vest or carry a weapon, but what he does have is much more powerful and meaningful to his community – a warmth and charisma that is building bridges between the residents, local government and the police to bring positive change to his troubled district.

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

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter