There was little doubt as to who will take home the Mirror Ball after Monday’s performance on Dancing With the Stars (DWTS).
The family of Nyle DiMarco, the 27-year-old deaf model and actor who brought home the coveted prize, were cheering for him during the final performance. The excitement among the Pompeo’s for the first-ever deaf contestant was overwhelming.
Harry Pompeo expressed how deaf people aren’t different from the rest. “The deaf community, all over, I think the world was saying, ‘he’ll win, he’ll win. No doubt!’ And sure enough, he did win last night,” Harry said, KATV reports.
Through his interpreter, DiMarco explained on the show that one of his fears was his timing as he was not able to hear the music. Another major obstacle was communication challenges with his dance partner, Peta Murgatroyd. She, however, did learn some sign language which helped them during rehearsals while working on cues.
DiMarco educated and enlightened the viewers of DWTS about the deaf community throughout the season. He said during rehearsals that he has adopted dance as a medium to inspire and give hope to deaf people. “Our dance is for millions of deaf people,” he said, the Washington Post reports. “This face has to make them proud.”
Their performance to Disturbed’s version of a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” elicited highly positive comments from the judges. Bruno Tonioli called the dance a “work of art.” Carrie Ann Inaba said it “was the best dance I’ve ever since” in the history of the show. Len Goodman lauded DiMarco and his dance partner, saying, “You said that’s a dance for deaf people … that was a dance for everyone. Nyle, you’re a very special person. And that was a very special dance.”
Moments before DiMarco was announced the winner of the Mirror Ball, Ibana said she had learned some sign language to express what she felt about him. Signing to him, Ibana said, “Thank you for showing us your beautiful heart when you dance.” The gesture brought DiMarco to tears.
DiMarco said during Good Morning America that Ibana’s gesture “was really very touching.”
“She took the time to learn sign language and we don’t really see that often in this world,” he said. “So that really meant a lot to me and it really touched me. It really hit me right in the heart.”
The Pompeos are active at the Arkansas School for the Deaf and hope the awareness DiMarco is spreading through his dance will reach out worldwide.
Arkansas School for the Deaf Superintendent Dr. Janet Dickinson said, “The world is kind of evolving and focusing on what they can do, what deaf people can do.” Many students at the school were cheering for DiMarco. One of the students said, “Nyle didn’t make any mistakes and just danced perfect. Hearing people look up to deaf now and say ‘whoa,’ and say, ‘deaf people can do that’.”