Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Deaf community receives more coverage thanks to Marlee Matlin

Students rehearse with the National Technical Institute
for the Deaf Dance Company for a production of "Bell in Hell."

I have mentioned a few of the print and TV stories that have been done since Marlee Matlin began on "Dancing with the Stars," and April 8 the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle profiled its deaf community and a deaf dance company there.

Rochester has a large deaf community because of the location of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, there. So the story went to that campus and talked to the deaf students about Matlin.

"Sarah Clark, 28, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been dancing since she was 8 years old and says that the deaf can be as good as anyone else when it comes to the performing arts, citing composer Ludwig van Beethoven as an example.

"Clark, who has been part of RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf Dance Company for five years, has been closely following Matlin's performance on Dancing with the Stars and says she hopes the show can bring awareness to the hearing community and be a positive influence to the deaf community," according to the article.

"It gives (the deaf) something to realize — that they are just as good as anyone else out there," Clark said.

Another student, Kevin Reyes, 21, of Guam said, "I grew up dancing and I'm addicted to dancing. If you can't hear music, that's OK."

Reyes said in the article that "he knows of younger deaf children who have been avidly watching 'Dancing with the Stars' and have designated Matlin as their new role model."