You might think that losing your hearing would rule out a career as a dancer, but Chris Fonseca proved that doesn’t have to be the case when he took to the stage for The Greatest Dancer on Saturday.
The 28 year old became deaf after contracting meningitis aged just 23 months but explained before his performance “I feel the rhythm, I feel the vibrations”.
And there was no doubting that, as Chris performed a routine packed full of contemporary dance moves in perfect time to Drake track God’s Plan.
Chris had all three dance captains (judges, for those not in the know) Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison and Cheryl, on their feet and drew an electric response from the audience – not to mention the magic 75% of the vote, which opens the mirror that divides the dance studio from the show’s main arena, sending him through to the Callback round of the competition.
“I loved that so, so, so much,” said Oti. “I enjoyed the popping, the locking… the fact that it was lyrical. I absolutely loved every bit of it so thank you so much!”
Matthew added: “Watching you, you were so extremely musical, for someone who can’t hear the music, you became your own music. It was so beautiful to watch, so thank you.”
“You feel the music,” said Cheryl. “It’s an incredible thing to witness. That was absolutely stunning.”
Using sign language to talk via an interpreter, Chris said: “It’s amazing, an amazing experience. In my dancing career, I’ve faced so many barriers, so this has been my opportunity really just to show who I am, show that I’m a deaf dancer but absolutely I can do this.”
And if you were wondering why the dance captains were wiggling their hands at the end of Chris’s performance, it’s because that’s the sign language version of clapping – and if anyone deserved a round of applause, it was Chris.
The Greatest Dancer continues on Saturday nights on BBC1