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In the summer of 2010, I received a call from a woman interested in booking me for an anything but typical beginner Square Dance. The woman went on to explain that she was with the Western Pennsylvania School For The Deaf and wanted to know if there was any way for us to call a dance for people with hearing disabilities. Wow! A light went on and for the first time I realized the far reaching possibilities of the multimedia platforms we had been working with. I immediately set up a meeting with her and drove out to the school.
Having recently read an article in American Square Dance Magazine by Ed Foote, a caller I have known for many years, on the subject of Square Dancing for the deaf, my son Shawn and I came up with an idea. By using the Karaoke format and a Power Point slide show, created by my son Shawn, we would project the calls onto screens at both sides of the hall, turn the speakers toward the gym floor allowing students to feel the vibrations, and bring Square and Round Dancing to the hearing impaired. The result was the first multimedia Square Dance for the deaf.
It is now our hope that someday National and State Conventions will use some form of this technology to assist persons with hearing difficulties. An example of how this could be done, is by putting a projector on each end of the dance hall so that Round Dancers could see the cues displayed as they change color in case they miss one. The cost factor for doing this is no longer prohibitive.
Gold Rush Records remains committed to working with Callerlab, Roundlab, amd State and National Convention Committees to better serve dancers through the use of new technology.