Who: Deaf dancer and choreographer Antoine Hunter
Why we chose him: Antoine Hunter is a talented and inspiring dancer, proving that you don’t need to hear the music to move to it beautifully.
Antoine, an international dancer and choreographer from Oakland, CA has an impressive dance resumé. He began dancing at Skyline High School with instructor Dawn James, studied West African dance with Master C.K. and Betty Ladzepko and attended Paul Taylor Summer Intensives in the early 2000s. He’s shared his talent around the world, from local performances with Kim Epifano’s Trolley Dances in San Francisco, CA to performing at the nationally-renowned The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Currently, Antoine serves as the artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance Company in his native Oakland. And, yes, he is a deaf man.
Antoine knew he wanted to be a dancer after seeing a performance of The Nutcracker in his hometown as a young boy. Despite financial hardships and societal struggles growing up, his perseverance and unwavering passion for dance eventually paid off. Today, he loves dancing to everything from jazz and soul to Mozart and country—and he wants to inspire others in the deaf community to do the same.
“Whether you can hear or not, dancing is a spiritual, emotional and freeing thing,” Hunter tells KQED Arts. “You just dance.”
Fun fact: Antoine is the founder of the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival which showcases the talents of deaf and hearing-impaired artists, dancers, musicians and more. The 2016 festival is running Friday, Aug. 12 – Sunday, Aug. 14.