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She’s deaf but has the beat

April 18, 2007


Barry Gray, the Hamilton Spectator

Victoria Soo Lum is helped by watching the feet of other dancers in the Bishop Tonnos school production of Footloose.

Confident Victoria dances into her high school’s musical

By Rob Faulkner
The Hamilton Spectator
(Apr 18, 2007)


Hamilton Spectator, Canada – The cast and crew of 75 students will watch the fine details tonight, as Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School opens a production of Footloose slick enough to make leg warmers hip again.

Do actors know their lines? Do girls have enough sky blue eyeshadow?

Is the Kevin Bacon-esque rebel spirit alive in the stage show of the 1984 film about a city teen caught in a dance-free country town?

But as the curtain rises on B.T.’s stage, one girl will also be keeping her eye on the feet of dancers around her. Victoria Soo Lum can’t hear the music, but she’s still in the musical dance production.

She’s deaf and in the musical.

“I use my peripheral vision,” the 15-year-old says through interpreter Pamela Burchell. She keeps the beat all through Footloose, no small feat with all of its country kicks and ’80s moves.

“I don’t necessarily count,” she says, noting she can hear the drums and bass of the live band and low male voices. The lyrics, however, she can’t hear.

Victoria says she auditioned for the play to be with friends and to fully participate in a hearing environment. The Hagersville girl has attended the E.C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton, but being at B.T. means few students know how to sign.

“Everyone was really accepting,” says Victoria, whose eyes dance through her dark curls with heavy stage makeup and glitter. “I’m pretty confident … and we have interpreters here at the school.”

With three of its four deaf students involved in Footloose — Natasha Mando and Nadine LeJambe do hair and makeup — you know B.T.’s unique.

The school, also home to deaf hockey star Dallas Boyd, has teachers Tracy Brown and Lidia Di Silvestre who know how to sign. It has two interpreters, even a note taker to help the deaf students who must watch signing in class.

And, with its skilled staff on hand, it is inviting the deaf community to tomorrow’s show which will have interpreters to translate dialogue and songs. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. tonight through Saturday at the school (100 Panabaker Dr., Ancaster).

Deaf showgoers should call ahead to reserve a good seat at 905-648-4989.

Starting tonight, the play’s the thing. Hundreds of kids from B.T.’s elementary feeder schools have already seen the show, laughing at comical hick Willard Hewitt (Dave DeMarco), whistling at the kiss between main characters Ren McCormick (Ryan Dunn) and Ariel Moore (Kaitlyn Leroux), tapping their feet to the title track and rousing Holding Out for a Hero.

It’s drama teacher Roberto Lombardi’s first big production at Bishop Tonnos and he had to find the Footloose scores on eBay to make it work.

The producer and director hopes for a string of sellouts with 450 tickets per night.

It’s the culmination of three weeks of auditions last fall and six months of rehearsals. And yes, Victoria has first night jitters, just like everyone else.



  1. Chris
    April 19, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    She is damn hottie. I will ask her out when she turn 18. I am 19. I will wait. 😉

  2. Victoria soo lum
    September 10, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    hey chris, ive been not checking up this news for in a long time. well actucally I wanted to say thank you:). im really admire to reading this news again, it sort reminds me from footloose and i completely missed it already !

  3. Nur
    January 18, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Hey My girlll!!!!
    I am sooooo surprised that you fully participated in the dance. i am realllllllyyy proud of ou my gurll :P:P:P

    lovee you

  4. victoria soo lum
    January 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    hahahah nur !!
    yay thankk youuuu:) lmfaaaooo.

  5. Adela
    July 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    You make me so proud, my girl! ♥

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