I came across a video recently on Facebook that captivated me. As it turned out, my friend who shared the video didn’t know anything about the group, but she liked what she saw. It depicted a big production, and at first I thought it may have been the Shen Yun troupe, the Falun Gong-affiliated group that relentlessly promotes its huge shows in the U.S. and elsewhere. It wasn’t Shen Yun, however. After some more sleuthing, another friend refered me to Alex Stieman, who was involved with a German performance of the group. He identified them as the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe. Among other things, the members are either profoundly deaf or have some other disability. I was now even more amazed.
The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe performs striking and highly-synchronized choreography, lead by a director who signs to the group what to do. There are also various musical groups in the organization, such as a jazz quartet. Alex Steimen, who helped produce the German show you see in the clip below, told me: “All their artists are very devoted and actual[ly] inspiring, not to mention how dedicated and disciplined they all are. Since the dancers are all hearing impaired or profoundly deaf, the green room (the lounge room where artists hang out at concert venues) was astonishingly quiet. They all communicated amongst themselves by sign language. I was astonished at their expression, precision and timing! It’s nearly impossible to achieve such expression in dance if you can’t hear the music!!! Many of the dancers in the video were in Europe for the first time in their lives and were very proud that they inspire other disabled people to live their own dream.”
Alex sent me this 2008 German tour clip from 2008. The piece depicts Buddha’s 1000 Hands. My thanks to him for helping me identify them and for the information he provided. Watch and be amazed!