Chris wears a cochlear implant in one ear. He uses British Sign Language and speech to help him communicate. Chris is the only deaf person in his family. At the age of 12, his Aunty encouraged him to watch ‘Breakin’, a themed comedy featuring 1984 break dancing. Soon after, he spent hours in his bedroom teaching himself dance moves. He did this by watching visual dance movements on repeat.
A few years later, Chris’ friend invited him to help set up a deaf dance troupe, ‘Def Motion’. Their debut performance was at Deaffest – “UK’s only deaf-led film/television and art festival, which celebrates the talents of deaf filmmakers and media artists from all over the world.”
“That moment I knew my gut instinct was telling me that dreams don’t have an expiration date and it’s not too late to dream again,” says Chris. “Deaffest was an opportunity to create a platform to showcase our #DeafTalent, in the hope to inspire other deaf dancers to continue their dream of becoming professional dancers and choreographers.”
It wasn’t long until dance became a passion of his, “dance has grown in me every day, day by day and I realised it’s time to do what I love,” he says.
He joined Studio 68 Dance Training Academy in London, where he learnt teaching strategies, musicality, rhythm and also received useful industry advice. He is inspired by many dancers, particularly fellow deaf dancer Simeon Campbell who provided Chris with valuable advice and guidance about the dance industry.
Chris now works as a freelance dancer and choreographer. He is also working on solo and collaboration projects. He relies on visual movements and vibrations to hear the music and coordinate his dance moves. His greatest achievements so far are; being the lead dancer in his first Television commercial for a Smirnoff advert and also performing solo in India, at Mumbai’s music concert in front of 5,000 people.
“Part of my progression that has shaped me into the professional dancer/choreographer I am today, is to realise; there are NO shortcuts to success, you have to WORK for it. I’ve failed – lesson learned. I’ve fallen down – I’ve gotten up again. I’ve faced barriers – I’ve found other ways round. Don’t focus on your disability, focus on your abilities. More importantly, do what you love, love what you do and keep dancing! The more you dance, the more it will lead you to new chapters of adventures.”
One of Chris’ favorite mottos is, “Dreams don’t work unless you do. Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.”
See more videos of Chris dancing on his YouTube channel.