My Celebrity Life

Strictly 2021: How does Rose Ayling-Ellis hear the music?

My Celebrity Life –
EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis (Picture: BBC)

EastEnders’ Rose Ayling-Ellis has already made history as Strictly’s first profoundly deaf contestant.

The 26-year-old star was born deaf, is a British Sign Language user, and often advocates for deaf awareness on social media.

She’s previously mentioned on her Instagram that she can enjoy music – but many are curious to know how, and how that’ll translate into a complicated dance routine on Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s something Rose and pro partner Giovanni Pernice have spoken about publicly in the run-up to the live shows.

So, what has the Frankie Lewis actress said herself?

How is Rose Ayling-Ellis rehearsing for Strictly?

Rose told the BBC – in a sneak preview of her dance rehearsal with Giovanni – that she’s not relying on the music itself.

Instead, she’s focused on ensuring she’s tapped into the rhythm of the song by counting the beat.

She explained: ‘I’m not really relying on the music. I’m relying on counting and the beat.

‘Giovanni is helping me with counting to make sure I get my count first, start[ing] at the most important beat, and then hopefully from onwards it’s okay.’

Rose also uses spoken English and has an interpreter on set at all times – so she can understand everything that’s happening.

In an exclusive with, Rose shared that her dance partner’s physicality is a big part of her picking up the routines quickly, too.

My Celebrity Life –
Rose praised her partner Giovanni for swiftly picking up sign language (Picture: PA)

‘[Giovanni is] very physical, which means he’s visual…’ she explained. ‘But because dance is so physical and so visual, I just watch him and copy him. It works really well.’

Giovanni also has learnt some British Sign Language to make sure they can communicate – which viewers spotted during the pre-recorded launch show in September.

‘His Deaf awareness is really, really good,’ she added. ‘He’s picked it up so quickly, and normally, when you meet people, it takes time to eventually process, but he got it quick.

‘I think it’s because he’s a professional dancer, so he’s always been very visual anyway, and I think also, he’s Italian, that helps as well.

‘Italian’s very visual and expressive, and he always looks at me in the face. He’s not afraid to ask me questions and makes sure everything’s clear to me.’

And Giovanni added to the BBC: ‘I’m more connected to my partner in this case. Because I know this is the only way we can communicate. Instead of being distracted by the studio… for me, my priority is my partner.’

Can deaf people hear or enjoy music?

It’s a common misconception that deaf people cannot enjoy music, play music or dance.

In an Instagram Story Q&A several months ago, Rose told one curious commenter that she was in fact able to enjoy music.

In response to the question, she simply typed: ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’ as music played in the background.

Many deaf people play instruments, or are able to sense music differently than hearing people – such as through vibrations.

One regularly-referenced example would be the 18th century German composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

California Symphony writes that Beethoven began to go deaf in his 20s. Regardless, he was able to compose Symphony No. 6 without hearing.

There are also a number of musicians working today, who are either hard of hearing or profoundly deaf.

The Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has been profoundly deaf since age 12, while US singer Mandy Harvey has been profoundly deaf since age 18.

Meanwhile, Chris Fonseca, a dancer who became deaf as a small child, wowed the judges on BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in 2019.

Cheryl, Strictly pro Oti Mabuse and Glee star Matthew Morrison gave Chris a standing ovation for his street-style performance.

In the clip, Chris explained of his process: ‘Obviously with music you have to be able to listen to it. But I feel the rhythm, I feel the vibrations.’

His brother Isaac added: ‘The way that Chris is able to dance is that when he’s wearing his hearing aid, he’s able to detect slight sounds and vibrations.

‘He converts those vibrations into sound, and that’s how he’s able to dance.’

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.

Credit: Original article published here.

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