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Tai Lihua: A Silent World of Splendor


Tai Lihua, the disabled lead dancer of "The Thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy", impressed us by her refined performance but more by her spirit…

 Kwan-yin Sister

With graceful dance and sumptuous costumes, the dance of "The Thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy" was absolutely an eye-catcher. But can you imagine that the 21 dancers are deaf and mute?

It was the first time ever that a dance performance by handicapped people was put on show at the Spring Festival Gala, and it was a big hit. Never has a performance ever before won so much applause from the audience. Not only was the dance awarded as the best dance of the gala, but also was considered the most successful and touching.

If the dance was a climax of the gala, the lead dancer Tai Lihua was the soul. People thus affectionately call her "Kwan-yin sister."

"Tai is the best deaf dancer I have ever seen," said Zhang Jigang, director of the dance. "She just has the sense."

When Tai first performed the dance years back, she didn't grasp it well and either grinned or sulked. But the countenance she has acquired now is long sought. It's an expression of serenity as Goddess of Mercy should be kind and look composed.

It was only a month before the show when they first received the invitation to perform. The dancers, disregarding the bitterly cold winter, rehearsed again and again from dawn till dust. Since they can't hear, they had to follow the instructors, who would signal the rhythm of the music from the four corners of the room.

At the gala, they stood as a whole on a lotus platform and in front of a magnificent arched gate "narrating" their beautiful story with elegant gestures, vivid eyes, and dignified postures. It was like a scene from Heaven. The whole nation was moved by such graceful body language and all words seemed ashy during their performance.

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