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Dance Residency at Braidwood School for the Deaf

This was another one of my week-long school residencies as part of my Sign Criminal commission, following on the success of my Derby, Doncaster, and Liverpool school residencies.

In the summer of 2019 I continued to gain momentum on my Sign Criminal commission with yet another school residency that brought an exciting week of dance, drama, poetry and story-writing, as well as ice breaker games, dance workshops, and a performance to the whole school.

This time, we worked with pupils at Braidwood School for the Deaf in Birmingham, and my usual crew supported me on the project: fellow Deaf dancers Ariel Fung and Chris Fonseca, sound artists Nao Masuda and Chris Bartholomew, and our producers: Alan McLean and Rachael Veazey of the Deaf Explorer team.

Just as before, we started the week with a short performance of our Sign Criminal work in front of the school, with introduction to our work, who we are and what we do. This was followed by taster dance workshops, led individually by myself, Ariel and Chris, and then some brainstorming sessions with groups of pupils, to plan for the week and decide what we'd like to do.

Throughout the week, we created and experimented with a mixture of forms - acting, dance, poetry, visual vernacular and sign language, and there was even music lessons and creation of music, led by our Japanese Taiko percussionist Nao.

The end of the week saw a brand new piece of work created by the students themselves with our professional expertise, which they confidently presented to the rest of the school.

This residency brought a positive impact upon each individual - bringing out their creativity, planning and leadership skills, and perhaps most importantly, their confidence. It was also a very enjoyable and fun week.

I have enjoyed dancing with 3 dancers. It was fun. I also enjoyed the DJ music. I also enjoyed the drums it was really loud but fun to listen to. - Adeela.

We wrapped the residency with an evaluation and feedback session, which was important for us to see what worked and what didn't, how we can improve, what the students liked best, and how to continue our successful residencies at more schools with excellent results.

Special thanks goes Deaf Explorer for their work in planning and managing the residencies, the school staff and pupils who have taken part, and to Arts Council England for allowing these residencies to happen.

Would you like a residency at your school led by Deaf professionals? Get in touch with myself at or with the Deaf Explorer team: for details.


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