Deaf dancer listens with her heart

Published on 12 October 2018

Patricia Merilo (left) and Chua Choon Hui (right) will be collaborating on a dance item for Got To Move, a nationwide dance movement initiated by the National Arts Council, this year.

By Celine Chong

Patricia Merilo’s love for dance came naturally, even though she lost her hearing to German Measles at birth.

She grew up in a music-loving family and was surrounded by great beats from young. Later, as a teenager bit by the K-Pop bug and the nifty footwork in its music videos, she started dancing with Redeafination, a hip-hop group whose members are mostly deaf.

That Merilo, 20, a Nanyang Polytechnic graduate, cannot hear the music with her ears has not stopped her from enjoying dance or pursuing it. She listens instead with her heart.

She blasts the music full and goes near the speakers so that the beats reverberate in her heart and she can feel the rhythms of the music.

Dancing with Redeafination, which has a few hearing members, has also allowed her to reach her full potential as a dancer.

She says: “Members with higher levels of hearing help to provide cues. Instead of counting aloud, they clap their hands, or tap the deaf dancers on the shoulders.”

Now a choreographer with Redeafination, she will be collaborating with a hearing choreographer, Chua Choon Hui, from the dance studio, Converge Studios, on an original piece of street dance, Re:deafining Dance.

The dance will feature both hearing and deaf dancers, and it will be staged at Suntec City as part of Got To Move, a nationwide dance movement initiated by the National Arts Council.

Merilo says the collaboration with Chua has been an enjoyable one, especially since the latter had previously been a guest trainer with Redeafination.

Merilo hopes the performance will prove to others that dance knows no boundaries.  “Although we are unable to hear, we can still dance well with hearing professional dancers and enjoy what we love – dancing.”

 

Details about Re:deafining Dance here.

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