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photo of a performance called TRAVELLING by Rob Walker (company photographer)_

Sign Dance Collective

"SDC are really pleased to have been accepted onto the Companies SYNC Programme. SDC is at an important stage in its development, and the experienced mentoring and guidance we will receive will help the Collective go forward with more confidence. SDC's artists are an ecclectic mix of individual artists. The entire company will definitely benefit from this wonderful opportunity, bringing us closer together."

Signdance Collective is an international dance theatre company based in South East England, led by Deaf and physically disabled artists. Through experimentation, performance and education work it heads the development of a pioneering art form - signdance theatre.

The company works with disabled and non disabled artists mixing art forms, cultural origins and abilities to create innovative, challenging performances. It develops the art form through ensemble work and allows artists from all over the globe to influence its practice. It prides itself in being an artists led practice with disabled people at the helm. It is inclusive. It is bold. It is striking.

a photo of 2 dancers from Sign Dance Collective dancing in confetti


Check out two images from Sign Dance Collectives latest show, an article from David Bower about their work...

... and a fantastic four star review for Dances for a Lost Traveller from Time Out.

To see Dances for a Lost Traveller, click here to go to a film of it on YouTube

Signdance Collective is an international dance theatre company led by Deaf and disabled artists. Through experimentation, performance and education work it has developed the pioneering art form “signdance theatre”

Signdance Collective seeks to merge several artistic disciplines together. Although we are a company of disabled and non-disabled artists, we are not trying to create work to enlighten people about the issues surrounding disability, so in that sense we are not dealing with social realism. But rather we are seeking to explore the creative possibilities that a disability suggests. A hundred years ago a statement like the above would not have been possible; the fact that we are able to do this now says volumes about the new and fragile freedoms that artists for example have gained. A new art movement has grown in the United Kingdom, one that the SDC is proud to belong to, the disability arts movement has been coined as “The last avant-garde”. Signdance Collective's work is seen as being at the cutting edge of new work in Europe and part of the new avant garde. The performances are a mix of Signdance, film & music . The company tour 28 weeks of the year, and is led by a team of Deaf Disbled artists , working with a broad range of contemporary artists from around the world.

The Quality of Disability

Signdance Collective believe in the Disabled/Deaf dancers’ vocabulary being given an opportunity to ‘breathe, and to exist on its own‘. SDC produces a dance-theatre style where disabled & Deaf dancer's vocabulary does not require for the dancer to be: pushed around, danced around, leaped around, used as a prop, or for their language (signlanguage) to be treated as a gestural convenience to develop choreography. We pursue authenticity & orginality in the work. The focus is on the collaboration between a range of artists, led by Deaf & disabled artistic team. We utilize sign-language as the vital element in the work. The performers use sign as their main form of daily communication. SDC company members are proficient at visual communication. SDC utilises & develops the movement quality, and the ‘aesthetic’ which belongs to our form; signdance. The newsigndance is developed in partnership with music improvisation & composition, film and signdanceimprovisation. This mix is unique to Signdance Collective in the development of it's art form: signdance theatre.

SDC is a company where the people on the ground, who are actually realizing and driving the work on a day-to-day basis, are disabled & Deaf performers & artists, working in collaboration with World class composers, musicians , dance /theatre makers and producers. We are exploring a dance aesthetic where the vocabulary of signdance can enable dance artists: Deaf, disabled to explore a movement vocabulary which is accessible at its heart, because it comes directly from sign-language where gesture is meaningful. Utilizing this beautiful language requires study and understanding of Deaf culture. SDC's style ensures that the language is clear. The artists, including the many collaborators who come back time and time again to work with SDC over many other professional projects, love to work SDC because we offer them artistic freedom, and a unique place where real collaboration can flourish over time.