Kerry Thompson is deaf and legally blind, but she doesn’t let that stop her from dancing. Kerry teaches salsa classes to people with and without disabilities throughout Boston.
In a video from Localish, Kerry talks about her experience pursuing dance as a deaf blind person, and what her class means to people. Check it out below, and read on to learn more about her.
Deaf Blind Dancer Teaches Salsa Classes
Kerry’s family learned that she was deaf when she was two years old, and found out she was going blind at ten years old. She’s able to see enough to read lips, but doesn’t have peripheral vision.
She shared that she dreamed of being a pediatrician, but was advised to change her major because of her deafness. She ended up getting a masters degree from Harvard and got involved in human rights for people with disabilities. She also got involved in the Boston dance community.
Kerry has been dancing with her friend Vineet Prabhu for over a decade, although Vineet doesn’t know ASL. “Dancing with anybody, I think that sort of transcends any sort of ability or language or culture,” Vineet said.
Kerry’s salsa class includes people who are deaf, people who are hearing, and people who are deaf blind. She describes it as “a way to come together from different backgrounds.”
Why Did Kerry Start Her Dance Class?
Kerry’s dance class started out with her teaching her friends how to dance through sign language, “to think about making it more visual instead of more auditory.” It became an opportunity for hearing people to connect with deaf people through dance.
She explained how she feels the music through vibration from the floor while she’s dancing, saying “it starts from the toes and it moves its way up, and it just takes over.” She told the Boston Herald that dance is “a way to communicate without words.”
Kerry is the director of Silent Rhythms, which aims to bring people with and without disabilities together through the arts. “If I can learn, you can learn. Anyone can learn,” she said of learning to dance.