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June 15, 2003

Deaf dancer relies on vibrations

From:, Australia - Jun 15, 2003

IT'S all good, good, good vibrations for Mathew Grivas who despite being profoundly deaf is whipping up a storm on the competition dance circuit.

The 16-year-old from Mt Crosby in Brisbane cannot hear a single beat of his beloved rock 'n' roll music but is taking the dancing world by storm.

A competitor at last weekend's World Freestyle Rock 'n' Roll Championships in Brisbane, Mathew takes his cue from vibrations in the air and his dancing partner.

At last week's Wintersun Festival on the Gold Coast, he placed third against the adults and second in his age group. He is hoping to compete at the New Zealand Nationals in November.

His mum Phdeliah Grivas said that because of his ability judges often didn't realise Mathew was deaf.

"He just loves it and gets upset if he can't train," Ms Grivas said. "The girls absolutely adore him – he throws them in the air and has a ball."

Mathew, who trains three times a week, said meeting other young people his own age was the "best part" about dancing. "Everyone just treats me like I'm a normal person, which I am," he said.

Mathew, who was the first person in Queensland to receive a cochlear implant at the age of five, lip-reads and writes to communicate.

His dancing partner Jacqueline Morris, 13, of Wynnum, who has been dancing for five years, said she had had a few dance partners, but none as good as Mathew.

"He's really good and so much fun to be around," Jacqueline said. "I think he's a great dancer because he puts so much effort in to it."

The World Freestyle Rock 'n' Roll Championships continue today at the Cleveland Community Hall.

The Sunday Mail (Qld)
Copyright 2003 News Limited.