The White Dance Shoes – My Inner Words

To all of us, some things are given, some things are withheld, over which sometimes we have no choice. But one can always choose one‘s outlook on life, and look more on the positive side, and face life’s disappointments with a cheerful and grateful heart. 
——Tai Lihua
In Turkey
March 18th, 2003
The White Dance Shoes – My Inner Words

Tai Lihua 

I was born in Yichang city, in Hubei province in 1976. When I was a small child, I had a sweet voice and when I called to my mother I sang beautifully.
Unfortunately, I lost my hearing at the age of 2 due to an injection of streptomycin when I had a fever. Ever since, I have lived in a silent world. Yet, I was not aware of my condition.  
It was not until I was 5 years old, when the children in my kindergarten took turns to play blindfold games to distinguish different sounds. It was then I realized I was different from the others. I was so sad that I cried.
At the age of 7, I was sent to a deaf-mute school. In a rhythm class, the teacher stomped his foot in order to send out vibrations to us, like elephants do when they pound the ground. The rhythmic vibrations went through my body from foot to head. Suddenly, I felt elated, feeling a happiness I had never experienced before. I lay prone on the floor and used my body to absorb the wonderful sound, I was so excited!
From that time on, I became fascinated with dance – an art form that is inseparable from music. I found that music made visible the means to which to express my inner world.

How I wished I had a pair of white dance shoes. My mother had to quit her job in order to take me around to seek medical advice. My family of four only depended on my father’s monthly salary of 50 Yuan. Poor as he was, my observant father satisfied my wish, and so on my birthday he 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. 

No matter how busy I was with schoolwork, everyday I always tried to make time to practice dancing. I practiced so hard that I got bruised. So as not to upset my mother, I always wore trousers, even in the summer, to cover this up. One day when she found out, she hugged me and cried.

After graduation from secondary school, I was admitted to Hubei Fine Arts Institute to study interior design. Unable to hear, I just sat in the first row and watched the teacher’s mouth while she speaking and writing. After class, I borrowed classmates’ notes to copy and study. Four years of college life passed quickly, and I graduated with outstanding academic results and a BA degree. I won a prize for designing an advertisement package in Hubei Province.

I always kept-up with my dancing. I became a dancer in the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe when I was 15 years old. While at school, I also managed to tour around performing with the Troupe.

After the Lantern Festival Gala in February 2005, President Hu Jintao received her and said: “your dance not only expressed the beauty of art but also the beauty of heart. Congratulations to your successful performance. I hope to see you more on the stage in future.”   Tai Lihua was selected as “Annual Figure of Moving China 2005” by TV audience in China.
 In May 2007, Professor Ole Danbolt Mjos, Chairman of Norwegian Nobel Committee said: “I really thought I was in another world when I was watching your performances. Thanks for a beautiful presentation full of joy and happiness. It has been just wonderful to watch you”.   In April 2007, Italy honored the International Award “THIRD MILLENNIUM” to Tai Lihua for her excellent work in the field of humanism and her contribution to the human friendship and social advancement.


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