A MAN who nearly gave up his dream of becoming a dancer when he fell deaf has graduated with a dance degree.
Hearns Sebuado, 22, of West Kensington, woke up one day at the age of 10 to find he had lost his hearing but did not let it deter him from his ambition of being a dancer.
12 years later, the man who moved to London from the Philippines as a child, has graduted from Middlesex University, in Hendon, with a BA in Dance Performance.
Hearns dances by feeling the vibrations of the music and has passed on his knowledge by teaching dance to deaf pupils at Oaklodge School in Wandsworth.
He said: "It has been an amazing and challenging experience. At first I wasn't sure how my tutors or others students would cope working with a deaf dancer, but they were all very open minded and willing to learn from me and show how they could communicate with deaf dancers in technique class or rehearsal.
“Explaining movements does not have to be verbal and if you demonstrate movements I pick them up very easily. My dance tutors and my interpreter Geraldine Pascoe have supported me throughout my three years at Middlesex and they helped me to progress as a writer and performer.”
The dancer is also very passionate about providing more opportunities in the industry for deaf people and wrote his final year project about the lack of opportunities available due to a dearth of awareness and recognition by directors, who are not hiring disabled performers.
Astrid Bernkopf, programme leader for dance studies, said: “Having Hearns on the course has been a learning experience for all the students and for us as teachers. He is a good student, very creative and a lively person. Hearns took on board advice and feedback to grow as a performer and person. He got more confident as the course went on - it was a pleasure to see him make friends with his peers and follow all of their development.
“He is very passionate and aware of opportunities for the disabled and will make an excellent role model.”