Deaf community in Norwich come together for festival fun

Clad in cowboy hats and denim shirts, this line dancing troupe would be at home in any American bar.

But the Norfolk DC Dream Dancers have a special talent – they can perform without hearing music.

The deaf dance group demonstrated their skills during two performances at the Deaf Awareness Festival inside the Forum yesterday.

Nigel Tennekoon is a member of the DC Dream Dancers line dance troupe, who performed for the second year running.

The 58-year-old said through an interpreter that he enjoys dancing and wish he had taken it up sooner. 'I really love dancing. It's difficult to learn and perform the right steps sometimes,' he said. 'It's hard because we cannot listen to the music, we have to feel the vibrations and watch each other to make sure we keep in time.'

The line dancers were accompanied on the day by a host of different deaf performers who were looking to raise awareness of the support deaf people can receive in Norwich and Norfolk.

Community worker Julie Dwyer entertained dozens yesterday when she told her life story through sign language.

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She spoke of the challenges the deaf community faces when studying for qualifications or working in everyday society.

Meanwhile, the Jenny's Singing Angels Choir and V Sign demonstrated the art of communicating songs through sign language.

The festival was held in Norwich as part of National Deaf Awareness Week, and was organised by the Norfolk Council on Deafness.

Opening the festival, the Sheriff of Norwich Derek James said 'It is a brilliant opportunity for everyone to see what is on offer for deaf people here in Norwich.'

Deaf Connexions manager Sue Moore said the Deaf Awareness Festival was all about reassuring deaf people that they are supported in the community.

Do you have a story about overcoming a disability? Contact Ben Woods on 01603 772 439 or email