Every Child Deserves the Chance to Dance


Photo credit: Hearing Loss magazine, photographer Peter Tsai

By now you may have seen the dance video that went viral a few weeks ago on FB – cop particpates in dance off and WINS. Great story – but the real story is even better.

The cop, Josh Vinyard, is actually an actor who has suffered from hearing loss that greatly affected him socially and academically in school. The video that went viral was from the set of Spiderman 2 in which he was cast in the film as a Cop. He was also a finalist on AGT. According to Josh, he turned to music and dance to escape the rigors of school due to not fitting in as a result of his disability.

Here is that amazing dance video.

High stakes standardized testing has crippled teachers and students tying them to the test. Students are forced to do endless test prep at the expense of more meaningful instruction.

CC requires students to meet the exact same standards, at the exact same time in the exact same way and in a restrictive environment as possible comparing ability as the same to GEd Students. Josh had a rough time in school due to hearing loss and this was pre CC.

How do you think he would have felt with such “rigrous” CC standards in place?

CC also results in narrowing of the curriculum forcing students to commit to subjects that may not be their strength. Individuality is lost to the common core.

Lack of funding has cut programs like music, sports and arts a great deal. Those periods require rigid CC components at the expense of creativity and play.

What will become of all the kids like “Josh” who NEED music, arts or sports in their life just to survive?

While we strive for higher standards, dont our students deserve to be unique and respected as individuals?

I dont think CC provides our kids or educators much respect in that way. But, thats just me.

In this piece, Josh discusses his experiences at school and trouble learning.  He was not a good student in school. Turning to dance made him who he is, someone he is proud of and literally saved his life.

Not every child fits the mold or expectation of “college and career ready.” Every child deserves the chance to dance if they want to.  Josh is happy with the man he has become and thanks dance for helping him through his pain.

“Did you have any issues with your hearing loss when you were younger and in school?

I wish I would have had more help in school. My mother pressured me to wear a hearing aid but I refused. I thought it would further alienate me from other kids and decrease my chances for making any friends. The truth was, I was already a social outcast because I could barely hear since the time I was born.

Growing up, I had a hard time hearing people so I didn’t understand them most of the time. My solution was to stop trying to listen and play in my own imagination. I kept to myself and daydreamed all day long. I essentially committed social suicide without having a clue I was doing it. I gave the appearance of a loner, so kids labeled me as a weirdo and, presto, no friends!

The teachers accused me of not paying attention in class and, presto, angry teachers! Granted, I wasn’t paying attention, but I never understood what they were talking about every time I did try listening. I refused to accept any hearing aids. School is not a fun place when you think the teachers and students are against you. And when you’re young, you blame yourself.”

“When did you start dancing?
I started dancing at age 13. I didn’t think about mastering the skill. I was a disgruntled, self-destructive youth. I just wanted to be good at something. At age 15, I really began to rely on dancing to fulfill me emotionally. I had felt worthless due to my social inadequacies. I remember telling myself, “You’re not good at anything, but this is what you’re best at so just try to be decent at it.”

Needless to say, I was pretty hard on myself. My dancing is the offspring of my pain, but, ironically. It has practically given me everything I have now. Pain plus dancing have made me into who I am today—a person whom I love and believe in.”

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