#DeafSuccess: Tara Miles, Educator, Performer, Teacher

Feb 13, 2019

[Subtitles available in English & Spanish | Subtítulos disponibles en español y inglés]

Video description: https://tinyurl.com/y6cu889o

[Begin video description. A woman, black with dark brown shoulder length hair, sits in center of frame wearing a white top with a pink cardigan over it. She has drop earrings and a necklace with a small circle charm. Behind her is a children’s classroom with large mostly-empty white cubby shelf and half-wall splitting the room in two. In three or four cubbies, there is an item such as a vase or decorative candle holder. The side closest to the woman shows a dark brown rocking chair with a red cushion, an abstract painting leaning against the half-wall in front of a stack of rolled up paper and cardboard tubes, an empty kids book shelf placed in front of two yellow stacked school chairs. The other side of the room shows a colorful red and blue play mat on the floor. This room is where the woman speaks during the video. She signs:
“I work in family education and also work as a performing artist and university professor. I’m Deaf, a person of color, and a woman. My struggle’s been real.  I’ve overcome many things, scaled many barriers.”
As the voiceover continues, the clip transitions into a close up of the woman smiling as she is framed with a teal border. To the right, white text appears: “tara miles” with “educator – performer – professor” underneath. Slightly transparent NDC logo appears in bottom right corner and remains there.
The border disappears and Miles continues to sign:
“I struggled growing up and as a child. We found out I was deaf around second grade. My teacher suspected that I wasn’t hearing and I was taken to the doctor where it was confirmed I was deaf. I was excited at first because I had cool, new hearing aids. But the kids started teasing me and I immediately shut down. I grew terribly embarrassed so always made sure I wore my hair long to cover them. I didn’t want people to notice because I wanted to fit in. When asked,  I would say, “Oh no! I’m not deaf, I’m hearing.” (She hunches over as she says this, displaying her embarrassment.) I thought I was hearing! Today, if you asked me the same question, I would proudly say, I’m Deaf. I remember back in high school, I wanted to be part of a dance team. I tried out, but didn’t make it. I remember the disappointment. I cried and cried.  My friend came over to comfort me. They hugged me and reminded me that there would be other opportunities. And you know what?  That was true, there WERE other opportunities. I was thrilled to go to college and join their dance team. I felt free.  I felt like, wow, this is something I can do!”
The voiceover overlaps the beginning of the b-rolls. First clip shows Miles at a younger age wearing a white shift with a high neck and covered in long flowing layers of fringe. She does a dance move and ends with one leg angled out and straight as she holds and shakes a Tamborine in a half circle in front of her body towards the other hand.
The next clip shows Miles on a stage with long dark green pennants hanging printed with white text, the only words seen are: “Festival” and “SHOW”. She stands in between two other black men wearing black pants and black and white hoodies. She wears black pants as well with a white crop top. All three dance hip hop moves, pumping their arms and chest forwards as they step from one foot to the other and kick a leg in front several times.
The following clip is a slightly darkened video of Miles on stage with another man with unclear skin color. They both wear white, she has a sleeveless top that’s printed with a black design and he wears a football jersey printed with “23” in red and wears a bowler hat. She claps as she moves her hips in a dance move and does a quarter turn as he does the same quarter turn but moves his hand up and down.
The final clip shows Miles in between two other women, one with light skin and the other with medium skin. They all wear a pink tank top, hers is the only one cropped, with black suspenders over it and dark slacks. They also have large wrist cuffs and black ties. Background shows a lighted up green starburst pattern as all three run forward and lift their arms straight up in the air.
Miles returns and continues to sign:
“I wanted to expose Deaf children to a variety of dances, not just one kind, so that they could see and experience a myriad of dance styles. Many of those students never had an opportunity to get that sort of experience, learning dance from a Deaf person.”
The voiceover continues over a series of b-rolls. First of which shows current Miles standing in a gymnasium with dark blue pads on the walls and wearing a dark blue sports polo accented with white on the shoulders. She stands in front of a row of people, the back of their heads seen out of focus at the very front of frame. They are all performing a dance move as Miles counts with one hand on her hip and the other hand up. A woman with light skin and long curly blonde hair stands next to her and watches the dancers. She wears a leopard or small giraffe print tunic in blue and white under a long black cardigan duster.
The next clip shows the same scene but from slightly behind Miles. Now we see she wears dark pants and light sneakers. The row of dancers consist of six college age female dancers performing kicks or claps. From left to right: a woman with dark skin and dark hair pulled back wearing glasses, a royal blue long sleeve tech shirt, and black leggings and sneakers, a woman with light skin with red hair, glasses, a black t-shirt with colorful printed design, black leggings, and white sneakers, a woman with dark skin, long black hair in pony tail that bounces up and down, wearing a white t-shirt, black pants, and white and black sneakers, a woman with light skin and blonde hair pulled back wearing a blue t-shirt, black capri leggings and black sneakers, another individual blocked by Miles, and finally a white woman with blonde hair, burnt orange t-shirt, and black shorts and sneakers. A short person stands next to Miles wearing a grey hoodie with the hood pulled up. They have their hands on their hips as well.
Next is same scene but different action. Bleachers are pulled in and stacked up along one wall. Miles does something that looks like a chicken dance in front of the first three women in the row of dancers as they all laugh. The person in the grey hoodie steps towards her and signs something.
Next, a close up of Miles as hair flies over her head as if she just flipped her hair back. She spreads her hands by her heads and then makes fists as she brings them down.  “Coach” is written in script embroidery on her shirt.
Next, Miles stands closest to camera doing a high kick as several women behind her copy.
Finally, a side shot of Miles as she holds her fists together in front of her chest with her elbows pointing out to the side as she twists and then raises one fist straight up and the other out to the side. The dancers copy her in the background as the camera angle changes from her side to her front.
Miles returns and continues to sign:
“I see their growth. I see how dance impacts their lives, and how it spills over in to their academics. “
A series of b-rolls come up, all take place in a university classroom with a white board along one wall, a podium with laptop, and long tables set up in a half circle with students sitting along one side facing the front of the room where Miles stands.
First, Miles stands next to laptop podium in front of the white board, she wears a grey short sleeve top and dark pants with a silver necklace holding a open triangle pendant. She signs towards the students.
Next, the camera moves back to show a side view of Miles and students at the table watching her. A large monitor sits on wall closest to camera and a white oval table sits in middle of front of room. Miles is on other side of the table. The students range from black to white and most of them have their arms crossed. They wear hoodies in black or grey, one wears a jacket, and one wears a black cardigan. Their backpacks are placed on the floor in between legs or chairs. Four windows line the wall with white shades halfway drawn.
The camera changes to a front view of Miles as she leans against the oval table and points towards someone off screen. Behind her, the monitor shows a presentation slide in blue with a white banner across the top. Banner reads: “OTHER THINGS THAT TO CONSIDER DURING THIS PERIOD”. A bullet list beneath: “Single life -Times have change! In the… expected to get married” and “What are some positive…” Text is blocked by Miles.
As she points, the camera moves behind her and we see 10 students sitting at the table. They are out of focus, one student with medium dark skin wearing a white hoodie smiles and signs.
Camera angle changes again to a slightly over the shoulder shot behind Miles as she points again with a smile.
Miles return and continues to sign:
“I think it’s very important, we who work with Deaf children…children who are people of color, from diverse backgrounds, to really learn more about them, their families, get involved with their family, to learn about different kinds of people. Cultural competency is so important. My momma always said, “Ooh, that Tara is a go-getter. She goes after whatever she wants.”  That’s my personality.  I struggle, yes, but I never ever lose sight of my dream. I may stumble and struggle along the way, but I keep the prize in front of me and chase my dreams.”
The “#deafsuccess” blue banner appears over Miles as she finishes signing and smiles. The clip fades out leaving the banner, then all fades to white.
An animation of the NDC logo forming plays. It moves up to reveal “National Deaf Center” in larger letters and “on Postsecondary Outcomes” in smaller letters underneath. The logo moves to the right, separated by a vertical teal line, more small text appears reading: “This video was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, OSEP #HD326D160001. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.” Underneath, three logos appear. The first reads “IDEAs that Work” with an arrow drawing a circle from “IDEAs” to “Work” and the words “U.S. Office of Special Education Programs”. The second logo shows a red-and-blue star with text next to it that reads “TA&D”. The third logo shows a blue circle around a tree. In the blue circle are the words “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.” End description]

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© National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Video licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International

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