>>JENNIFER: How do you take a diverse group
of people with different degrees of experience and get them to move to the same beat?
>>JANET: Well, repetition helps, according to Thomas Warfield, who for the last twelve
years has been at the helm of a unique dance ensemble and tonight you have the best seat
in the house. (music)>>JANET: It’s another evening rehearsal on
this college campus. Some of these dancers have had years of training; others, not a
lick. Some can hear, others are deaf. It’s those different abilities that make this ensemble
unique. This is the RIT/NTID Dance Company at the National Technical Institute for the
Deaf at RIT. Director/choreographer Thomas Warfield.
>>THOMAS: I decided not to think about all of these different abilities that people have
as differences, so I really teach everyone the same. In our studio, we have the speakers
up in the ceiling and the sound comes down, and the vibration of that sound, of course
people can sense that. Now people have different degrees of deafness – some people can hear
low or high tones, some people can’t hear anything at all, but I believe there is a
sort of internal rhythmic structure inside of us. Right now the RIT/NTID Dance Company is preparing
for its version of Sleeping Beauty – think Tchaikovsky with a twist.>>THOMAS: I’ve mixed jazz and hip-hop and
tap and all those things into the show. And if the name “Warfield” sounds familiar,
it should. The Rochester native is the nephew of the great vocal artists William Warfield
and Leontyne Price, so the musical influence is strong. He played piano at four and sang
with a children’s opera company at seven.>>THOMAS: Initially I thought I was going
to be an opera singer – that was my goal until I discovered dance.
>>JANET: And you can discover the story of Sleeping Beauty. It starts February 11th.
The show runs through the 14th at Panara Theatre at NTID. Great, great show.
>>JENNIFER: He does the neatest projects, doesn’t he?
>>JANET: He does indeed. Very, very creative.