Dancing With the Stars Week 2 airs at 8 p.m. ET tonight, and viewers can’t wait to see the performance by deaf model Nyle DiMarco and his professional dance partner, Peta Murgatroyd. The pair wowed the judges (even persnickety Len Goodman) and Dancing With the Stars viewers last week as they performed a Cha Cha that left everyone speechless. Check it out.
Wait, what? He can’t hear the music he’s dancing to? Vibrations? Anything? Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron asked Nyle this question before getting feedback from the judges on DiMarco’s first performance. He responded as follows.
“… absolutely nothing… It’s actually Peta. She’s dancing to the music. I just follow her with my eyes.”
In fact, in his People vlog, Nyle said that during one Dancing With the Stars rehearsal, he and Peta tried turning up the music, but it didn’t have the desired results.
“Rehearsals this week has been good, but there was one time we actually tried to make the music as loud as possible to make me hear the music. And I felt the vibrations, but when we started dancing, it felt off.”
Dimarco has also indicated that prior to Dancing With the Stars he had never really danced and wasn’t sure he’d be able to. He told Us Weekly the following.
“Growing up I didn’t dance at all, and I wasn’t sure if I could. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself as a deaf person. If I made a fool out of myself I think the world would have that negative perception that a deaf person can’t dance, and it’s important for me to do so well so that I can preach to the world that deaf people can do anything.”
The first completely deaf Dancing With the Stars contestant, Nyle DiMarco is the fourth generation of his family who is totally deaf. He has not been able to hear since birth, something Nyle has said he believes has been good for him. Whether Dancing With the Stars or some other pursuit (like competing in America’s Next Top Model, which he won by the way), deafness has never felt like an obstacle to DiMarco because he has never known anything else. And because he grew up in and continues to be a member of a family and community of deaf people.
Many years before Dancing With the Stars, while still in school, it was suggested by some teachers that Nyle get hearing aids. That advice was ignored, a choice that hasn’t held him back on Dancing With the Stars or anything else. The Mighty reports that one of those teachers sent a text message to DiMarco’s parents after last week’s DWTS performance, apologizing for her attitude toward him and his inability to hear. It read in part, as follows.
“I just want to tell you that your son Nyle was amazing last night on Dancing with the Stars!!! I am in awe of him.
“I owe him an apology. I suggested he try hearing aids, I guess I will always be a speech teacher… Lol
“But he showed me I am so wrong, he did his dancing without any difficulty.
“He has become a role model for every deaf person. He showed they CAN!!! Congratulations, I have a good feeling that he can win the Mirror Ball!!!”
Among Nyle DiMarco’s competitors on this season of Dancing With the Stars are actress Mischa Barton, NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown, actress Kim Fields, former NFL player Doug Flutie, actress and former wife of Donald Trump Marla Maples, NFL linebacker Von Miller, Boyz II Men member Wanya Morris, talk show host and news reporter Geraldo Rivera, actress Jodie Sweetin, UFC fighter Paige VanZant and Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee.
[Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images]