This article presents an overview of NGT performing arts in the Netherlands through the life and work of poet Wim Emmerik. Neder landse Gebarentaal (NGT) is the Dutch name for Sign Language of the Netherlands. Drawing from ethnographic research, performance samples, and interviews of performing artists, educators, and researchers, this article identifies a wide variety of performing arts forms. Findings synthesize historical changes, national and international influences, key genres, performance features, performers’ motivations, challenges, and the fortitude of noted performers. Results suggest the importance of the state-of-the-art knowledge shared by members of the Deaf community, Deaf performers, and researchers. Focus on the life and work of Wim Emmerik, a great sign language poet, provides a prime example of the sign language literature, performing arts pioneers, challenges, evolution, literary features, and international influences of the performing arts in the Netherlands and abroad. Life lessons and descriptors are instructive for second-language users in higher education (teachers and interpreters), for parents of young Deaf children, and for Deaf children in public schools who gain access to sign language later in life, as well as for first-language users who wish to appreciate the complex literary levels of their language and the literary figures who create them.


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pp. 481-514
Launched on MUSE
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