When Art Seems Impossible

China’s Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe was created in the late 1980′s to give an opportunity to those with disabilities in mainland China to express themselves artistically. There has been much stigma attached to disabled people in China, and while the problem persists, steps are being taken to change the situation.


The main dancer and Artistic Director of the troupe Tai Lihua is deaf as are many of the performers. Through her performances she has now become a major celebrity in China.


Their most well known piece is called the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Dance. About their performances Tai Lihua says:

We once went to perform for Lanqiao Prison in Shanghai in October 2003. During our talk with the prisoners, I said: “When we heard that we would be performing for prisoners, I was afraid. But sitting with you today, I feel that we share a lot. The difference between us is that we are handicapped physically and you spiritually.” The prisoners were all moved by this.


The troupe also performed in Hong Kong during the height of the SARS epidemic and performed the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Dance specifically for the protection of the people.


The troupe has traveled to more than 40 countries throughout Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, and the Oceania region. Its members have been referred to as "messengers of beauty and humanity."