Nyle DiMarco, the deaf, sexually fluid, America’s Next Top Model winner who has been impressing the judges and audience all season on Dancing with the Stars, and his partner Peta Murgatroyd turned in a freestyle dance in last night’s finale which judge Carrie Ann Inaba called “the best dance I have ever seen…in 22 seasons” of the show.
“What was so profound about it is not only do I see a man who wants to prove that he can dance…but I also see a man that is proving he can change the world through dance.”
“That was beyond dancing, that was a work of art,” said Bruno Tonioli. “I have chills.”
Said Len Goodman: “Well you said that was a dance for deaf people, but that wasn’t. It was a dance for everyone. Nyle, you’re a very special person. And that was a very special dance.”
The dance was set to a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed.
Watch with pre-roll and commentary:
The band Disturbed allowed DiMarco to use the song after reading a very moving letter from him, which they posted to their Facebook page:
Here’s his email to us-
My name is Nyle DiMarco. I am Deaf. I’m the fourth generation and I have over 25 Deaf members in my family. I am now in the semi finals towards the Mirror Ball on Dancing With The Stars. I am writing this letter to let you know how much your song “Sound of Silence” means so much to me and my Deaf community and that I would love to dance to your song for the finals. I feel this is important for you to know that we the Deaf people underwent a terrible history and we are still stuck in the darkness. The darkness of oppression that your song truly reverberated to me.
Before the year 1880, we the Deaf people lived normal lives. We were perceived normal. We held political positions. We joined the army. We had jobs. We had an education through sign language that greatly benefited to our visual eyes and silent ears. It was until the Milan Conference in 1880 that led to language deprivation and… ultimately our culture, our job opportunities, and our intelligence. We were tortured. Our ancestors underwent electric shock chairs, surgeries (without anesthesia), and so many torturing methods just to help us regain our hearing. We were also punished if we used sign language. We were whipped. Slapped with our rulers. Abused. We were required to try and learn to speak (and that always, always miserably failed).
We also lost jobs. Many now perceive us as disabled, that we can’t serve the army, hold political positions, nor teach.
Because of the conference that almost led to the death of the Deaf culture (and was basically genocide and cultural-genocide), we are still trying to get out of the dark. I just founded Nyle DiMarco Foundation and our focus is on Deaf kids. We are working with state and U.S. senators to write and pass the bill that requires bilingualism (American Sign Language and English) because it was recently proven by science that it will benefit the Deaf child a lot more than just English only. I am using my celebrity platform and especially on DWTS for good cause.
With your song… we are planning on showing my history’s terrible times through dancing… and to your powerful and moving song. We feel that with you, your song, and us, we will make/change history and help people better understand our history, and build allies all over the world to help better Deaf lives.
Help us resurface from our darkness, from the systematic oppression. There is power in Sound of Silence.
We hope you will grant us the permission. Lets change history together!