Tai Lihua

I lost the ability to hear at the age of two after an injection of streptomycin when I had a fever. I wasn’t aware of it until I was five when children in my kindergarten took turns to play blindfold games to distinguish sounds, I realised that I was different from others. I was so sad that I cried. Two years later, I was sent to a school for the deaf. During a class, one of my teachers brought a drum and started beating it. I experienced the vibrations of music moving under my feet. “Suddenly, I was elated, feeling so happy which I had never experienced before. I lay prone on the floor and used my body to absorb the wonderful sound.” I wanted to experience that feeling again and so I pressed my face against a loudspeaker and imagined dance on the television.

I became fascinated by dance and the music gave me a way to express myself. By the time I was 15; I was selected by the China Disabled People’s Performing art troupe as a dancer and began training to become a professional. I always wanted to own a pair of white dance shoes, but we didn’t have enough money. My mother quit her job to take me around to seek medical help and advice which meant complete dependence on my father’s income of 50 Yuan. He loved me dearly and satisfied my wish on my birthday and bought me a pair of dance shoes. “I held the white dance shoes fearing they might get soiled on the floor, and so I danced on the bed with happy tears flowing in my heart.” I always made sure that I practiced dance every single day which often left me bruised and in pain, but I was determined not to let that stop me. I wore trousers even in summers to hide the scars from my mother and I was able to do so for quite some time. Then, one day she discovered those scars and cried while hugging my tight.

I never gave up dancing and I want people to know that there’s no disability greater than one’s desire and longing of fulfilling his dreams. I have performed globally and have always been warmly welcomed. I understand that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my dreams if it weren’t for those who gave me the opportunity to bring my talent in front of the world.