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Any deaf ballet goers out there?

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I started learning sign language this year (as a hearing person) and have just taken my BSL level 1 exam (British Sign Language).

As I was watching a ballet the other day here in London I was trying to figure out if it would be possible to interpret the orchestral music in any way to a deaf person.

I would love to know if there are any deaf people out there who go to the watch the ballet, and if so what it is like as an experience.... obviously this is going to depend to a great extent on the nature of the hearing loss. I am just wondering if any system of music interepretion has ever been devised? (I was thinking perhaps a 'hands on' system perhpas akin to the type of sign language used for deaf and blind people).

If there are any deaf people out there reading this: would you even be interested in any type of interpretation? ...... perhaps not!

Although I have spent a few months talking with my deaf tutors and quite a few deaf people who come to my college I have yet to find a deaf (or hearing) balletomane! So if there are any out there I hope you can put right my ignorance on this subject. In fact I would welcome any feedback from anybody.

Thanks! :wink:

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There are deaf dance companies, in which the dancers feel the vibrations of the music through the floor, and I would imagine this would show that there are deaf people who are interested in watching dance. There are certainly music fans among the deaf community, if the presence of ASL interpreters are any indication.

Maya Angelou spoke in Seattle the other night at the Paramount Theater, preceeded by three singers and a keyboard player. I watched the difference between the way the ASL interpreter signed the spoken intros and pre-music banter, and the songs themselves. The phrasing was completely different and song-like.

The same happened when Maya Angelou herself sang, intermittently throughout her speech. As Angelou recited poetry throughout, the signing reflected the cadence and meter of the poetry.

I think it would be difficult to sign the orchestra when the dancing is happening, though, without distracting from the dancers. A number of opera singers have complained that audiences are too busy reading supertitles (or "Met" titles in the back of the chair directly in front) instead of watching the stage. Seattle Opera tries to get the gist, rather than word-for-word translations, so that the audience can skim the general meaning, and then look back to the stage.

It's hard to imagine this happening for dance, where the graphical representation would need constant watching, particularly in a orchestral piece. (A piece to the Beach Boys, for example, would need just a metronome-like set at the beginning of each piece.)

Perhaps hand-held devices could be created (or the "Met" title screens calibrated to do so) to use light and color pulses that would need only to be scanned, or to amplify the music so that it could be transmitted manually, without distracting from the stage itself.

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