Special artists wow at Lincoln Center
Dancers from the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe perform Thousand-hand Bodhisattva dance at Lincoln Center in New York on Tuesday. [Photo by ZHANG RUINAN / CHINA DAILY]
Dancing without sound, performing without sight — a mind-blowing show was presented by a group of Chinese artists with disabilities at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York City on Tuesday night, to an audience of more than 1,000, including many ambassadors and senior international organization leaders.
The artists, from the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe, presented an incredible variety of genres – from Chinese traditional music to Western vocal solos, from Chinese folk dance to ballet, from Peking Opera to dance drama.
“It’s really an honor to invite a group of inspiring artists from China during the presidency of China at the Security Council,” said Ma Zhaoxu, China’s permanent representative to the UN, in a speech delivered to the audience before the show.
A co-sponsor of the performance, the Permanent Mission of China to the UN holds the presidency of the Security Council for November.
“The group has been to more than 100 countries, and was awarded the Artist for Peace by UNESCO. And they have brought to the world the beauty of the arts as well as the strength of life,” Ma said.
“I’m very excited to play at Lincoln Center tonight, we prepared so long for this show,” said Tan Weihai, the flute soloist, who performed A New Song of Herdsmen. “To perform in front of UN officials has a very significant meaning for us.”
“I’m a person with a visual impairment, and I started playing piano when I was a 5-year-old,” said Jin Yuanhui, who played Chopin’s Fantaisie-Imprompta for the audience. He said he played the same piece for the opening ceremony of Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
“From the melody of the piano, I not only saw the light, saw the color, but saw the kind hearts of the people,” Jin said.
“There are an estimated 1.5 billion persons with disabilities in the world, the world’s largest minority,” said UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces. “Eighty-five million of those persons living with disabilities are in China.
“As our world ages, the number of people living with disabilities will increase greatly,” she said. “In a UN dedicated to all people everywhere, it is our obligation to make sure that all people have the opportunity to leave a decent and meaningful life.
“Making sure no one is left behind or excluded is not only morally right, it is the only way to expand opportunity and build thriving economies that benefit all,” she added.
“I wish to pay tribute to the powerful and moving example of using the arts to promote peace among nations,” she said. “I commend China for its leadership in promoting this laudable initiative as part of its presidency of the Security Council.”
“It was very inspirational, beautiful, and it shows you what people with disabilities can do when they are properly empowered and when they have their rights respected,” said audience member Jarrod Clyne, who works at the permanent mission of New Zealand in Geneva. “I really enjoyed the flute performance tonight; it was really incredible.”
“The 1,000-hand Bodhisattva dance impressed me the most,” said Alecia Albascal from Cuba. “I was moved by their performance and it gave me a lot of inner power.”
Founded in 1987, the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe aims to promote self-respect, self-confidence and self-reliance, and its outstanding work has been recognized on many occasions.
Deng Pufang, the president of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, who established the China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe, received the UN Prize for Human Rights in 2003.