July 4–15: Deaf dancer’s unique performance

“Words can lie. The body does not.”

This mantra is the basis of Aestridr’s groundbreaking work, Here Me, set to premiere at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Here Me follows an intimate dialogue between Aestridr and the audience as she attempts to bridge the lifelong disconnect between her atypical deaf identity and the rest of the world.

At the age of six, Aestridr, known to family and friends as Amelia Nyla Jakasa, was diagnosed with profound bilateral hearing loss and subsequently began wearing hearing aids. With her deafness, a persisting speech impediment, social isolation and ridicule in the midst of a loud world, Aestridr struggles to convey her stories.

To remedy this, she has decided to create a language, one that is founded on eye contact, touch, expressions and gestures shown through movement of the body alone.

Here Me is a series of stories and experiences created in the moment, the dialogues created between each night may be similar or drastically different. Choices are made by both audience and artist as they interact, witnessing and feeling joy, grief, and laughter. In exiting the conversation, no two participants take home the same experience.

Here Me is playing at Tarragon Theatre Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Ave. Performances are July 5 at 10:45 p.m., July 7 at 7:15 p.m., July 9 at 6:30 p.m., July 10 at 10:15 p.m., July 12 at 4:15 p.m., July 13 at 2 p.m., and July 15 at 12:15 p.m.

Tickets are $12 and are available for purchase on the Fringe Festival website .

To learn more about Aestridr and her work, visit her website.