Awesome, thrilling, tear jerking ... these are the words used by many to describe 'the gan-yin (Avalokite svara) with thousands of hands' performance in Beijing, China.
It was an unusual dance performed by unusual people. With 21 young deaf-mute performers, the dance featured the 1,000-hand gan-yin, goddess of mercy in Buddhism. It required all the dancers to perform in sync as one being in rhythm with the music. Without the ability to hear or speak, these dancers achieved the feat through signs. To help the dancers catch the rhythm of the music, sign language coaches were at the four corners of the stage. The signers and the dancers performed beautifully as the dance earned six rounds of applause.
Choreographed by Zhang Jigang, one of China's most prominent dance choreographers, the dance is the fruit of many years of practice.Its first major international debut was in Athens on Sept. 28 at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the repertoire of the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe and had traveled to more than 40 countries.
The 21 dancers range from 28 to 14 in age. The 28-year-old leading dancer Tai Lihua is the soul of the dance.
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