Art & Photography12th January 2015


Raising the Bar was developed by NDCS to make dance and music more accessible for the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK.

by Sarah Lawrence

Former Hollyoaks star, Rachel Shenton, is helping the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) encourage young deaf dancers and musicians to showcase their performance skills and enter Raising the Bar, a new music and dance competition which launches today.

Raising the Bar was developed by NDCS to make dance and music more accessible for the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK. It aims to increase the levels of deaf awareness through the arts, whilst also raising the expectations and standards of what deaf children and young people believe they can achieve.

Entrants to the competition (eight to 16-year-olds) will have six weeks from today until 22 February 2015, to create and submit a video of themselves performing a dance or music routine. Ten lucky winners will be selected by NDCS staff and leading deaf professionals from the arts industry, and invited to attend a two-day masterclass on 24 -25 May 2015.

Masterclass training sessions will be led by ‘Def Motion’, the UK's only touring deaf dance crew, the acclaimed deaf flutist Ruth Montgomery, and Danny Lane from ‘Music and the Deaf’, a unique charity working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy music.

The weekend will culminate in a live showcase of the newly found Raising the Bar stars, at The Rep Theatre in Birmingham, demonstrating exactly what deaf children and young people can achieve.

Rachel Shenton said: “It’s really fantastic that deaf children and young people can showcase their skills in dance and music through the NDCS ‘Raising the Bar’ competition.

“Interacting with other deaf young people through performance and music is vital for aspiring deaf performers in order to build their self-confidence and demonstrate to others, what’s possible for deaf children to achieve in dance and music.

“Raising awareness across the arts industry, making dance and music accessible for everyone is so important and I wholeheartedly encourage all the budding deaf musicians and dancers out there to get involved, sign up and be part of it!”

To see Rachel Shenton’s video click here.

Hayley Jarvis, Head of Inclusive Activities for NDCS said: “Deaf children can do anything other children can do, given the right support. Participation in the arts gives deaf children and young people the chance to learn new skills, and feel more confident and empowered – and participation is what Raising the Bar is all about!

“We will also be developing a ‘toolkit’ for teachers to raise the awareness and expectations of deaf dance and music professionals. We hope this will inspire professionals across the arts to deliver accessible activities for deaf children and young people.”

To sign up to the competition please visit:

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Entertainment / Art & Photography

12th January 2015