South Essex College: Hearing impaired student dancing his way to success at prestigious dance colleges

LEVEL 3 Dance student, Oliver Hewing, 18, from Grays, is a step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a professional dancer by being accepted to train at two prestigious dance colleges; Bird and Performers.

This feat is made all the more remarkable as Oliver is hearing-impaired. He was diagnosed at the age of three and relies on the vibrations from music to practise his art.

Oliver said: “I used to go to watch my sister at her dance classes and have always wanted to be a dancer. The course has been great because I have learned so many dance styles. This is my first experience of mainstream education and it has been a fantastic journey.”

Oliver explained that he had to tackle some barriers by taking a different approach, he said: “Acting was a tricky one, so when I had to speak I decided to use British Sign Language (BSL) in my monologue. The other students found it really interesting and the Director at Bird College was really impressed.”

Oliver said that he has felt supported all through his time at the college: “The tutors and support staff have been fantastic. They have been very understanding and given me one-to-one sessions as well as extra time to complete assignments if I needed it.”   

Curriculum Head for Performance, Digital Technologies, Media and Performing Arts, Emily Balls, said: “It has been a pleasure to watch Ollie’s development during his time at college with us. We have had the privilege of seeing him flourish in the college environment and dramatically improve his creativity and confidence. We are proud to have been a part of his journey and are looking forward to hearing about his future successes.”

Oliver commented that one of the best things about being at the college was that his presence has made both staff and students more deaf aware. He added: “I have had such a good time at college, I am much happier, I have made friends and the course has allowed me to pursue my ambition of becoming a back ground dancer and maybe work on cruise ships.

“I would say to any young person, able-bodied or not,  if you have a dream just go for it. At the college you will get all the support you need.”

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