Music is a wonderful gift to humanity.
Not only it can be heard, but you can enjoy it with all your senses. Then again, what if your senses don’t allow you to experience such a blessing? Deaf and blind people feel the world the way that most of us do. To our surprise, a dance troupe of hearing and visually impaired people managed to put together a breathtaking choreography.
The “Thousand Hands Bodhisattva” made Zhang Jigang famous.
An internationally acclaimed Chinese choreographer, and a Lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army, Zhang Jigang, created a national treasure with his most famous production “Thousand Hands Bodhisattva.”
The piece features 21 hearing-impaired dancers.
So, these people can’t hear and yet they seem to feel the rhythm perfectly. On top of it all, musicians in the orchestra are blind. The dance troupe has become famous across the globe, and some of its members aren’t musicians at all. They are engaged in different jobs but they feel passionate about music, and the results are impressive.
The dance was performed at the Closing Ceremony for the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece.
It was also a great addition to Miss World 2004 beauty contest, held in Sanya, China.
In all, it was a perfect synchronization!
All the dancers are standing behind each other, forming an almost perfect column. Dressed in captivating, bright yellow outfits with beautiful accessories in their hands, these ladies manage to trick the eye into believing that only one person is moving all of those hands. Their arm and hand positions are perfectly timed, and the images you get from the front are stunning.
In case you wonder how did they manage to choreograph all this with people who can’t hear the music, we investigated a bit.
There were six choreographers, dressed in white, helping them to do the right moves at the right time. It proves that you can feel the rhythm in other ways, too. The version we’re watching was filmed at the annual Chinese Spring Festival in 2005. The video was seen by more than a million YouTube viewers, but it’s estimated that hundreds of millions of people have seen it across different platforms.
But all of the combined hand movements add up to a significant meaning.
The dancers are trying to portray Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, who is the feminine reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara in India.
It is believed that her thousand hands are seeking for those who need compassion and guidance.
The Boddhisatva were human beings once, but they refused to reach Nirvana after death. Instead, they returned to this world, to help people let go of despair, sadness and pain. What a beautiful interpretation of a tradition! We love the fact that the video serves as an inspiration to get to know Eastern cultures a lot better.
The first international performance was at the Kennedy Centre, in Washington D.C.
After becoming a great Chinese success, the show quickly grew into a sensation. Everyone wanted a piece of it, and the United States was the first country outside China to host the “Thousand Hands Bodhisattva.”
It was performed in front of former President of the United States Bill Clinton, senior White House staff, and spectators.
Everyone was thrilled, and we completely understand why.
The dancer in the front doesn’t take the smile off her face, and we’re amazed by her.
Imagine not being able to hear the music or to see what your fellow dancers do behind you. You have to purely rely on your inner judgement of time and rhythm.
We would love to see this live for ourselves—what a great job!
Check out the full performance in the link below:
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Source: YouTube/CCTV English