A deaf man who nearly gave up on his dream of becoming a dancer has graduated from his BA Dance Performance degree at Middlesex University.
Hearns Sebuado (22), who dances by feeling the vibrations of the music, is fulfilling an ambition to follow his passion despite losing his hearing at the age of ten. Earlier this year he had a video about his experience directed by Middlesex television student Toshna Boolaky.
In 2000 he woke up to discover he'd lost his hearing but vowed this would not hold him back.
Hearns, who moved to London from the Philippines as a child, said: "It has been an amazing and challenging experience. At first I was not 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 rehearsals."
"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."
Hearns is passionate about opportunities in the performing arts for people with disabilities and last summer taught dance at Oak Lodge School in Wandsworth working with deaf pupils, something he is hoping to repeat again this year after a successful spell at the school last year.
He wrote his final year project about the lack of opportunities available, "because of lack of awareness and recognition, there are very few directors hiring disabled performers".
Programme leader for dance studies Astrid Bernkopf 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 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."
Course leader for dance performance Kate Rogan added: "As the course progressed Hearns started trusting himself more from our feedback - we have seen him grow and develop as an individual, dancer and performer."
View a video of Hearn's experience of university.
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