Deaf dancer to perform at Paralympic opener

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A student from Milton Keynes will be showcasing his dancing skills to the world at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Profoundly deaf Wayne Sharples beat off stiff competition from thousands of performers from across the globe to gain a place among the high impact dancing section.

The British Sign Language student, who is set to graduate from the University of Central Lancashire this July, wowed the judges with a three hour audition of expressive dance.

Wayne said: “I’m so excited to be performing at such a fantastic event. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one which I’m delighted to be a part of. It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”

The 36-year-old’s interest in dance started at a young age. He took part in a school performance of ‘Thriller’ based on the song by Michael Jackson and became hooked on the performing arts ever since. He honed his talents at educational institutions in Derby, Nottingham and Leeds before spending ten years travelling the world as part of Liverpool-based performance company Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre.

Wayne, who will start a two year part-time MA Performance at UCLan in September, said: “I was so nervous at the audition but knew I had to dance like I’ve never danced before and show off my character. The wait to find out if I’d made it was so stressful but when I finally found out I’d got a place I was really shocked but so happy.”

He will perform on August 29 in the newly built Olympic Stadium in Stratford in front of many distinguished guests, including Her Majesty the Queen.

“I love the Queen, she’s such a fantastic lady, and to know she’ll be in the stadium watching me dance just adds to what will be such a brilliant moment in my life,” he added.