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Poetry in Motion | An Evening of Collaborative Deaf-Accessible Arts

Deaf-accessible ballet, ASL ballet, D/HH ballet

I had the privilege of sitting in on a rehearsal at Roanoke Ballet Theatre as some of the members of their Professional Company prepared for an upcoming performance titled Poetry In Motion: an evening of Deaf accessible ballet, poetry reading, song, and cinema all inspired by the literary work “The Lark Ascending” by George Meredith. This special night of collaborative arts, made possible by the Year of the Artist initiative, will be held at Mill Mountain Theatre in downtown Roanoke on Saturday, May 13th at 5pm. Tickets are available HERE or by calling the box office directly:


This is not, however, just a performance for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, but for everyone.

Something I love best about the arts is how they bring people together by way of a shared experience. Suddenly, what typically divides us (politics, religion, race, physical limitation, etc.) seems to melt away as we are unified under an intimate offering of creative beauty and emotion that touches our inner souls in deep and profound ways. It leaves us richer people for having collectively experienced it.

This event will feature a reading of the poem, followed by a tonal choral work for eight voices, based on the poem, by local composer Evan Andrew Odson - both with interpreters. A special trailer screening for a short film recently created about the inspiring story of a Deaf dancer ties in seamlessly with the theme. William Smith, professional dancer and talented choreographer, will cap the evening with the premiere of his newest work in collaboration with local Hard of Hearing actor and ASL Director Betsy Quillen, that intertwines the ballet and ASL vocabularies to create a breathtaking interpretation of “The Lark Ascending” - truly poetry in motion.

Saturday | May 13th


Mill Mountain Theatre


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