Deaf Dancer Lands Her Dream Role

Deaf Dancer Lands Her Dream Role

“My face is my voice.”

As the Lady in Purple in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” Alexandria Wailes finally has a part that reflects her many parts, Gia Kourlas writes in The New York Times.

She is deaf. She is mixed race. And she is a dancer.

The role is in Ntozake Shange’s celebrated feminist work, now playing in New York’s Public Theater. In it, seven women of color are named after and dressed in different hues of the rainbow, and Ms. Wailes weaves the choreography with American Sign Language.

“That was a challenge,” Ms. Wailes said through an interpreter in an interview with The Times. “I didn’t want it to become too movement-based so that the language started to get lost.”

Ms. Wailes became deaf after contracting meningitis just after her first birthday, and when she was around 3, a doctor suggested that she try a class. It was a way, she said, “to help me heal and deal with the world.”

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