The power of silence
Rose Ayling-Ellis’s performances on Strictly Come Dancing over recent weeks have been incredible to watch and it’s been even more incredible to see the impact her presence is having towards creating a more inclusive community.
Rose’s latest performance on Saturday 13th November included 16 seconds of silence, which stunned audiences and has gone on to significantly raise deaf awareness within the wider community. Since this powerful performance, we have received our highest number of enquiries to date.
The presence of a deaf person in mainstream media and the representation for the deaf community has undoubtedly helped break down barriers and challenged misconceptions about deaf people, whilst encouraging more people than ever before to learn BSL. With more hearing people learning BSL, it’s a huge benefit to the deaf community by creating fairer and more inclusive societies.
Joanne Anderson, our Training Coordinator here at Deaf Action said:
“Our British Sign Language course bookings have been increasing since Rose joined Strictly Come Dancing, so much so that we’ve had to put on extra courses to meet the demand. It is a fantastic opportunity for hearing people to take an interest in our language and learn a new way to communicate. Sign language isn’t just gestures, it’s a beautiful language with its own grammar and linguistics.”
On 30 October 2021, Rose tweeted that people should learn sign language from deaf people who use BSL as their native language. Our BSL courses are all taught by qualified deaf tutors and as a charity, 100% of our income is reinvested back into improving services for deaf people. There is currently a massive shortage of deaf BSL tutors, so funds generated will be used to train more tutors and create employment opportunities for deaf people, who are 4 x more likely to be unemployed than the general population.
Once the excitement around Strictly Come Dancing is over, we hope this will have a long-term benefit for the deaf community by increasing deaf awareness. With more people learning to sign, communication can be improved, which is a huge step towards a fairer society.