Mark Smith is the founder and artistic director for Deaf Men Dancing, an innovative all male dance company, who, like Mark, are deaf. Together they have created a fusion of dance styles that incorporate sign language, creating an original aesthetic. DMD have performed internationally including DanceEast’s 1st Anniversary Gala, E4’s Battlefront, London’s 2012 Deaf Day, Candoco’s 20th Anniversary cabaret, Brighton Festival and Clin de’Oeil Deaf Art International Festival, France. DMD was commissioned by Greenwich + Dockland International Festival to create a new work called TEN that was premiered at National Paralympic Day featuring Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival 2014. Mark was invited by Sadler’s Wells Theatre to premiere DMD’s new work called Hear! Hear! at =dance. Commissioned by Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt – Artistic Directors of Ballet Boyz, Mark choreographed a short film, My Silent World, where he collaborated with film director Luke Aherne for Channel 4’s Random Acts. In 2015, Live Theatre UK awarded Mark best choreographer for The Who’s Tommy. Visit Deaf Men Dancing.
In this short interview, Mark Smith talks about what he has gained from working on the E&E project, namely a deeper understanding of Deaf history and culture that will take his work into new directions. Exploring the collections of the Science Museum and Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds enabled Mark to come into contact with exciting and fascinating objects, including Queen Victoria’s ear horns, and a history of oppression and struggle that he feels is his responsibility to pass on to the next generation of young Deaf people.
Photo Credits: Sarah Lee and Richard Sandell