Deaf dancer and choreographer Antoine Hunter carries with him a joy of movement and a mission of artistic leadership. Leading dozens of students in a master class at the Harvard Dance Center, Hunter said he believes “all people are born with an element of creativity.”
“Art is live, and it has the power to heal, to bring the community together, to educate,” he said.
The founding artistic director of the Urban Jazz Dance Company in San Francisco and producer of the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival, Hunter grew up in a tough Northern California neighborhood.
“Dance saved my life,” he said, recalling the isolation he experienced as a young person born deaf. “Oftentimes I felt people couldn’t understand me.”
His company incorporates many dance genres, including ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and African, as well as including sign language as part of an aesthetic that he describes as gritty and raw and “fresh with unexpected movement.”
“Our goal is to bring the community together and inspire people, regardless of age or hearing levels,” he said in an email. “Most importantly, we strive to teach, present and inspire that ‘Deaf can do anything’ in art forms.”