15 November 2010

Rock your senses

As a deaf or hearing impaired person, it can be difficult to experience the rushes and rhythms of a musical event. That is something the Dutch project group Skyway Foundation have changed. What seemed like an impossible mission has been made very much a reality – to create musical events for the hearing impaired. They call the event “Sencity”.

To create musical events for deaf teenagers took its shape a couple of years ago as the idea of Ronald Lichtenberg and the Skyway Foundation, which is a Dutch project group which focuses on hearing impairment. In an attempt to get away from the idea, that entertainment for the hearing impaired purely involves subtitles and sign language, Skyway Foundation developed a bi-annual event which they call “Sencity”. The event is touring the major cities of the world.

The events have attracted more than ten-thousand deaf and hearing impaired over the years. The parties go beyond the sense of listening and convert the music to as many senses as possible. In this way, the deaf and hearing impaired feel the emotion of the music though their other senses – touch, sight, smell and taste.
Sencity is a multi-sensory event which makes it possible to bring hearing people, the hearing impaired, and the deaf together, as well as onto the dance floor. All of the party guests, both hearing and deaf, can feel the pulse of the beat in their bodies. The dance floor consists of 20 vibrating square metres which respond to the frequency of the music.

"The vibrations are very strong; it's great for dancing," says Thomas Gruber, who has been one of the deaf participants.

Taste and smell

The audience makes use of all of their senses to interpret the sounds the deaf cannot hear. On big screens, the music is visualized as music interpreters and sign dancers interpret the music and lyrics with sign language and dance choreography.
During the evening, smell and taste are also stimulated as aroma jockeys convert the emotion of the music into a fragrant mist across the room, and another participant hands out suckers and popcorn.

The Sencity-concept has become well-known in the deaf society throughout the world and the atmosphere and stimulation of the senses also means that those with normal hearing also feel at home.

Sources: www.dw-world.de, www.stichtingskyway.nl, www.your-sencity.com.

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