Play That Funky Smell Aromajockey

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Often unrealized by those of us with the ability to hear, Deaf people have forged a unique cultural identity of their own. Most obviously, sign language is the primary form of Deaf communication. But there is also Deaf literature and Deaf journalism, Deaf worship and Deaf humor. In fact some argue that Deafness is an ethnicity, not a medical condition. (See Stefany Anne Goldberg’s “Can You See Me Now?” in the September-October 2011 issue of Utne Reader.)

You wouldn’t think, however, that club dance nights are on the cultural calendars of many Deaf people. Most people need to hear a solid beat (or at least down a few vodka-cranberries) before they muster the courage to publicly shake what their mother gave them. But the promoters behind Sencity, a European dance night series, think that hearing the music is only a small part of a wildly fun evening on the dance floor–and have organized a Deaf-friendly disco party.

 “It is all about using all your senses–hearing, touch, sight, smell and taste,” Sencity organizer Nienke van der Peet told the London Evening Standard
. “It’s all one big sense-stimulating experience.”

You can get footloose on the “sensefloor,” a vibrating dance floor. And speaking of good vibrations, partygoers can also don a “feel the music suit” that, according to the manufacturer’s website, “identifies and analyzes music in advance, the software reads it and chooses its own pre-programmed vibration patterns to match the music.” The sensory offerings don’t stop at touch. Live video mixing and laser light shows play behind dancers who hand sign the words to the songs. On-site hairdressers and make-up artists make sure everyone is looking sexy. The most unusual component are the “aromajockeys” (see right), who match emotions conveyed by the music to their complementary scent and then waft the smell over the crowd. What does euphoria smell like anyways? (Probably a little like perspiration . . .)

Source: London Evening Standard

Images courtesy of Skyway Programs.

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