The Dance Troupe at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB), established over 30 years ago, provides lively entertainment to audiences throughout the state and beyond. The Troupe performs for schools, colleges, civic and service organizations, and community events. Particularly noteworthy were performances at the State Capitol for the Florida Legislature, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the 2005 Super Bowl pre-game show with Alicia Keys, and the 2006 Walt Disney Christmas Day Parade with Michael Bolton. Members of the Troupe have also rendered the National Anthem in American Sign Language during Jacksonville Jaguars home games.
Participating students, which include varsity athletes, Academic Bowl Team members and class officers, receive high school class credit in Fine Arts. Dance Troupe members are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA and are usually honor roll students.
Watch the Dance Troupe’s final performance for the 2014-2015 school year.
Commonly Asked Question
Q: “Are these students really deaf? Can they ‘feel’ the rhythm of the songs through their feet?”
A: Yes, most Dance Troupe students are profoundly deaf; however, some are able to hear some sounds. Most cannot ‘feel’ any of the rhythms. A performance requires many hours of practice as students learn the steps and count out the beat of the song. On stage, students watch each other and are cued by their director.
Dance Troupe History
The Dance Troupe was first organized at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in 1971. It was formed under the direction of Cheryl Johnson, a teacher in the Physical Education, and later, the Deaf High School Department. In the early years, the Troupe provided signed interpretations for the music at various school events. Later, dance components were added, and a new performing group was born.
With Johnson’s retirement, the Dance Troupe has passed into the very capable hands of Lia Ferrante, a teacher in the Deaf High School. With extensive dance and cheerleading background, Ferrante is leading the Troupe into a new era of ever more varied and complex choreography and showmanship.
For more information, contact:
Director, Dance Troupe