12 years of memorizing the lyrics

12 years of memorizing the lyrics
The Fourth Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opens. Tai Lihua, a CPPCC member and head of the China Disabled People’s Art Troupe, and another CPPCC member “sang” the national anthem in sign language while playing the national anthem, which moved many netizens.

This time, Tai Lihua waited too long to “sing” affectionately.

The National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was officially released on Sept 1, 2018. On March 1 this year, the “> National Universal Sign Language Program for the National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China” came into effect, standardizing the use of the national universal sign language to “sing” the national anthem for the first time, with hearing disabled users as the main body.

This is Tai Lihua’s 13th year as a member of the CPPCC National Committee. Every year when she attended the two sessions, she would recite the lyrics of the national anthem in her heart when it was played. This year, she was excited to finally be able to use her hands to express her inner voice. “Having a standard sign language solution solves the long-standing desire of deaf friends to sing the national anthem, which shows the spirit of the country and the people.”

On the Spring Festival Gala 16 years ago, 21 deaf and dumb girls performed the stunning “Thousand Hands Guanyin” under the command of sign language teachers, which moved the audience all over the country. Tai Lihua, the lead dancer, also made a brilliant performance.

In the Spring Evening of 2005, Tai Lihua led the dance “Thousand Hands Guanyin” to make an amazing appearance.
From the lead dancer of Thousand Hands Goddess of Mercy, to the leader of China Disabled People’s Art Troupe, and then to the member of the CPPCC National Committee, Tai Lihua has always been eager to interpret compassion and kindness with unique artistic and physical expression forms, and show the elegant demeanor of the disabled in the new era. Her goal is simply to allow more people with disabilities to “live with dignity.”

“My soul was always on the stage.”

Time never loses beauty. This sentence is vividly reflected in Tai Lihua.

In the impression of the Global People reporter, time seemed to leave no trace on her body. It was a special, silent interview. In front of the reporter, she took off her luxurious clothes and had no makeup, but her smooth forehead, slender neck, straight legs, gait, nod and smile all made her beautiful and overlapped with the noble “Thousand-handed Guanyin” in our memory.

Her sign language also seemed to be dancing, her fingertips thin, fast and beautiful, rising and falling like a swallow. Because to read the reporter’s lips, when communicating, her eyes were bright and focused, and the reporter also read kindness and temperature from her eyes.

12 years of memorizing the lyrics
On January 17, 2020, Tai Lihua accepted an exclusive interview with the Global People journalists in Beijing.
At the age of two, Tai Lihua lost her hearing due to the misuse of drugs. When she was five years old and couldn’t keep up with the kids, she realized she was different from everyone else. Her parents sent her to a school for the deaf. In rhythm class, the vibration from the tiptoe touched the door of her heart which was trapped in silence. The teacher plays an elephantfoot drum and sends the vibration through the wooden floor below to the standing children to let them know what the rhythm is. Little Tai Lihua could not help but bend down and put her cheek close to the floor, so that every nerve and every cell in her body could feel the rhythm and feel the happiness she had not seen for a long time.

With such a rhythm, Tai Lihua began to learn to dance. “When I was young, I was a little stubborn, strong and unyielding.” So it is with reading and dancing. In the third year of high school, she even insisted on taking the college entrance examination to prove that she was as good as others. Finally, she was admitted to Hubei Academy of Fine Arts majoring in Visual Communication with excellent results.

“Dancing is my original heart, my dream began because of dancing.” Through the help of sign language interpreter, Tai Lihua told reporters. The “dance” in sign language is very vivid, like two small people dancing ballroom dance. She gestures and teaches us with a bright smile.

Tai Lihua in her childhood.
Her deafness gave her an unusual sensitivity to art and to emotional expression. At the age of 15, Tai Lihua became the leader of the China Disabled People’s Art Troupe. At the age of 28, she and 20 other deaf-mute performers performed the dance “Thousand-Hand Goddess of Grace” on the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, impressing the world. In the minds of most old fans of the Spring Festival Gala, it is the pinnacle of dance programs on the gala stage. In the search of “Thousand Hand Guanyin” on B, a website with young audiences as the main body, the word “kneeling” appeared most frequently in the bullet screen.

With her amazing dancing and amazing will, Tai Lihua and her teammates won the respect of the world with their efforts, proving that the disabled can also reach the peak in art.

12 years of memorizing the lyrics
All amazing achievements are not accidental, especially for Tai Lihua.

“It is not difficult for deaf and dumb dancers to make their movements perfectly, but dance is a kind of art, and it is essentially a kind of charm. To show this kind of charm, we need to reach a high degree of agreement with music in every movement, expression and strength. Especially when we have actors, how do we express rigid beauty? How to express the beauty of flexibility? These are things that have to be polished over and over again, and we use them over many years.” Tai Lihua is a dancer. In the eyes of dancers, art does not distinguish healthy people from deaf and mute people. What she needs to do is to find perfection in the imperfect.

In 2005, when Tai Lihua won the Moved Chinese Talent Award, the organizing committee gave the award speech, describing her “life itself is a beautiful dance”.

Tai Lihua (left) received the award at Touching China.
Recalling the scene at that time, Tai Lihua sighed too fast, “it seems to be a moment, a blink of an eye. Later, the children from the Spring Festival Gala rehearsal came back and told me that they went to the old building of CCTV. I told her I had been there, and I remembered the road and the stage.”

Now most of the 21 “Thousand-handed Guanyin” have returned to their hometown and found stable jobs in other industries. Only Tai Lihua remained in the art troupe. She was sentimentality towards the stage.

Tai Lihua performed one of her representative works, The Spirit of Sparrows.
But it is because of her respect for the stage and her love for dance art that Tai Lihua chose to call a farewell. “The 2008 Paralympics are a great opportunity for special arts to be highlighted. At the opening ceremony, I was watching from the back of the stage, and then I had the idea of quitting. The stage is too precious for deaf dancers, and only if I quit, I could leave the opportunity to more young deaf and mute people who have dreams of dancing.”

The reporter did not know sign language, but he could understand the faint tears in Tai Lihua’s eyes at the moment. “Would you want to go on stage again?” “My soul was always on stage. When I watch them dance, I feel like their hands are my hands, and their feet are my feet, and I’m with them and I never leave.”