Dancing with the Deaf
I was recently forwarded the following video. It is called the One Thousand Hands Bodhisattva Dance which showcases a large group of beautiful Asian women in gold costume doing an intricate performance with their hands. What is even more amazing than this complicated routine is not only are these women talented, but most are hearing impaired. They use cues from the hearing women at the edge of the stage.
Tai Lihua, is the main actress of the dance and also the Art Director of the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe. She became deaf at the age of 2 after a streptomycin injection. At age 7, while attending a school for the deaf and mute she discovered the joy of sound. Because of her love of dance and sound of music she became a dancer in the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe at the age of 15.
The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe started in 1987 for those that were hearing impaired, visually impaired, and/or physically impaired yet also had a love for art and dance. The troupe travels around the world to perform not only the One Thousand Hand Bodhisattva Dance, but other musicals and dances as well like: Dance of the Butterfly Lovers performed by two actors with hearing impairments; The Code of Life by a performer who is physically impaired; To See the Spring is a dance performed by those who are visually impaired; The Happy Life in Farmland where the main actor is physically disabled. There are many more performances also with children with disabilities and a Peking Opera called At the Crossroads where the actors who are visually impaired assist the actors who are hearing impaired while performing martial arts! The timing for that needs to be impeccable or you’re skewered!
When traveling all of the performers look out for one another. ““I am your eyes, and you are my ears; I am your mouth, and you are my legs.”
Unfortunately the video link on the troupe’s website* is not working so I used the one from YouTube.
*The China Disabled People’s Performance Troupe website is difficult to navigate where you are unable to click through the drop down menus. Just click on the main header navigation and scroll down the page to get to the sub navigation on the left side bar.