Indonesian Sign Language-Based Approach in Creating Dance Theatre for The Deaf Performers

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Riana D. Sitharesmi1 and Wira P. Rumambie2



The human body is the main material for manifesting the hidden message into visual codes or signs. Non-verbal signs are presented in a representational, semi-representational, or non-representational (symbolic) way. Using mostly the arms, hands, head, and face, the Deaf delivers the message representationally.  When the Deaf dances, however, he can have his own sensitivity related to sign language, in addition to his special features, namely that they are used to seeing and experiencing the inner rhythm.  My research is during the process in training dance theatre for the Deaf youth at Yayasan Tunarungu Hellen Wimberty Gorontalo. Along with the offer to make a film located in Gorontalo, we felt the need to prepare the Deaf youth with basic acting competence. The imperative is to attempt the form of dance theatre both for the sake of an immediate filming, and for the learning project in a longer period.  Refering to the experiences of Stephanie Lim, Harlan Lane, and Mel Drake in conducting dance and drama performance for the Deaf, I collaborate the dance practice and basic acting techniques with Indonesian Sign Language or Bahasa Isyarat Indonesia (BISINDO). A short movie has pragmatically produced while the main purpose is to contribute to the ideals of inclusive education for Indonesian Deaf students. With the knowledge and skills of art, it is hoped that later the talented Deaf youths themselves can be the agent of humanistic nature of the arts. 

Keywords: dance theatre, deaf, Indonesian Sign Language, basic acting


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