Building Big Bridges with a Little ASL-LSQ
This project is a follow-up to 2019's A New Rhythm: Teaching Beyond Sound. A New Rhythm was a video project to instruct non-deaf dance teachers in the best strategies for teaching and working with DHH dancers. Thanks to this project, Dance Manitoba requested a short film to teach basic ASL dance terms for the dance teachers, and so Building Big Bridges began.
While opportunities exist for Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) dancers to access communication accommodations in dance classes, non-deaf dance teachers are often unable to communicate directly with their DHH dancers. Building bridges between the Deaf and non-deaf worlds breaks down these barriers in communication.
Each of the six videos feature an introductory segment, with a narrator delivering a short introduction to ASL (American Sign Language) or LSQ (Langue des Signes Québécoise) and Deaf culture, and an explanation of the benefits DHH dancers will experience when they have non-deaf teachers who know even a little bit of sign language. Tips about context, classifiers, pointing, etc. are also included in this introduction. A voice over is presented in this introductory segment. Next, dance signs are presented and taught. The video starts with the narrator, then the Deaf dancer and the non-deaf dance teacher review the signs.
The videos were recorded over four days: one day for the three videos in English and another day for the three corresponding French videos, and one day each for the recording of the ASL and LSQ Narrators who discuss classifiers and other aspects of Deaf Culture that are inserted in all the videos. The videos were edited, to be ready to go online summer of 2022. They will be launched alongside the existing from A New Rhythm: Teaching Beyond Sound. The ASL videos are currently online and the LSQ videos will be available summer of 2022.
All sign language in the videos are presented and taught by members of the Deaf community. The ASL/LSQ lesson segments follows this pattern: first, a Deaf dancer signs the term for the non-deaf dance teacher, then the non-deaf teacher repeats and practices the sign, with corrections provided by the Deaf dancer. The videos are captioned to ensure that both DHH and non-deaf viewers can follow along.
These videos demonstrate how easy and fun it is to learn ASL/LSQ. Furthermore, the videos illustrates proper dance vocabulary, which may not be covered in basic ASL/LSQ classes.
The video lessons will remain on MCSD-DAM and Dance Manitoba’s websites, available to watch for free. Promotion will be on the social media platforms of the participating organizations. MCSD-DAM will also access its cross-Canada network of Deaf organizations to promote this project on their social media platforms, ensuring that the videos will be accessible nationally.