Redeafination: Redefining the idea of a deaf dancer




A hip hop dance crew for the deaf, Redeafination seeks to redefine by tying in the words “deaf” and “nation” into their name.

With their aims to grow a nation of deaf dancers, Redeafination has come far, most recently performing at Deaffest in the UK: a leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival.

An absurd idea?

It may seem absurd at how someone deaf can dance. The ability to be attuned to the music is perhaps a prerequisite for the aspiring dancer.

Yet Redeafination overcomes this, as they focus on sensing the vibrations coming from the music.

Basically we all feel that music doesn’t really need to be heard; it can be felt, it can be seen.


They certainly give “feel the music” take on greater meaning as their other senses come to life.

11 years strong

Having started in 2008, the group today is 12-member strong, featuring a group of a majority of deaf and non-deaf dancers, and they are frequently invited to perform.

Their past performances include dancing for Purple Parade for 6 years in a row to date, True Colours Festival, the aforementioned Deaffest, as well as numerous collaborations with counterparts ranging from UK to Japan.

Difficulties in dancing

According to an interview with, the dancers speak up about their specific challenges in dance.

Details such as synchronising moves can become challenging, and dancers often have to tap into their sense of sight to take note of the timings of various dancers.


The very existence and success of Redeafination is testimony to the amount of hard work the dancers put in to overcome their specific challenges.

No matter how steep the climb, there is always a way to get to the top.

As Redeafination dancer, Shariffah aptly puts:

There were a lot of deaf actors, DJs and rappers and they made me realise that I can be who I want to be as long as I don’t give up on myself and my dreams. They motivated me to work even harder and inspired me to be a better person.




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