The founder of the Bay Area’s annual gathering of the Deaf dancers and choreographers from around the world says you don’t need to hear music in order to be able to move to it.
Antoine Hunter is one of the most high-profile dancers with hearing loss working in the United States today. He grew up in West Oakland, the son of a single mom. Hunter fell in love with dance at the age of five when he saw an Oakland Ballet production of The Nutcracker. He wanted to start dancing right away, but his mother couldn’t afford to pay for classes. It wasn’t until he was in high school that Hunter could begin his education as a dancer.
Since then, Hunter’s dance career has gone gangbusters. He has performed locally with Kim Epifano’s Trolley Dances and Robert Moses’ Kin Dance Company among others, as well as nationally, at the Kennedy Center and more. Today, Hunter is artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance and the founder of the Bay Area Deaf International Dance Festival. A passionate advocate for dance in the Deaf community, Hunter proves that you don’t need to be able to hear music to express yourself through movement.
In anticipation of the 4th annual Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival of 2016, KQED Arts sat down with Hunter to hear about his passion for dancing and what dance means for members of the Deaf community
What inspired you to become a dancer?