The creative spirit: A couple of dancers

Knitter and dancer Ann McCauley forwarded me a link today to a YouTube video. I usually have to delete anything that’s forwarded and I rarely have even a minute to go look at something on YouTube, but Ann’s taste is impeccable (and not just in knitting). If Ann had a blog she could tell you about this herself, but she doesn’t so I will!

What a testament to the creative spirit. This is an exquisite four-plus minutes of award-winning dance by an unusual duo: she has one arm, and he has one leg. There are no compromises in their performance; there’s a whole lot of creativity, skill, and exceptional choreography (by Zhao Limin).

The introduction that Ann sent me from the message that she received is below; the page with the video contains additional links to interviews and television presentations by the dancers, Ma Li and Zhai Xiaowei. (Warning: The interviews and television are in Chinese; there’s another site in French that has the video but it wasn’t as clear on my computer as the YouTube version.)

This has me thinking about Eric Maisel’s book about creative people and depression—the fact that people who need to create must create or their mental health can suffer: The Van Gogh Blues is finally coming out in paperback.

What a splendid example these dancers give of saying "Yes," no matter what.


From the original writer who sent the video to Ann:

"When I was in China last month, I saw a Chinese
modern dance competition on TV. One couple won one of the top prizes. The lady
has one arm and the guy has one leg. They performed gracefully and beautifully.

"The lady in her 30s was a dancer and was trained as one
since she was a little girl. Later she got into some kind of accident and lost
her entire left arm. She was depressed for a few years. It seemed that someone
asked her to coach a Children’s dancing group. From that point on, she realized
she could not forget dancing. She still loved to dance. She wanted to dance
again. So she started to do some of her old routines. But by her losing an arm,
she also lost her balance. It took a while before she could even making simple
turns and spins without falling. Eventually she got it.

"Then she heard some guy in his 20s had lost a leg in an
accident. This guy also fell into the usual denial, depression and anger type
of emotional roller coaster. She looked him up (seemingly he was from a
different Province) and persuaded him to dance with her. He had never danced.
And to dance with one leg? Are you joking with me? No way. But she didn’t give
up. He reluctantly agreed. ‘I have nothing else to do anyway.’ She started to
teach him dancing 101. The two broke up a few times because the guy had no
concept of using muscles to control his body, and a few other basic things
about dancing. When she became frustrated and lost patience with him, he would
walk out. Eventually they came back together and started training. They hired a
choreographer to design routines for them. She would fly high (held by him)
with both arms (a sleeve for an arm) flying in the air. He could bend
horizontally supported by one leg and she leaning on him, etc. They danced
beautifully and they legitimately beat others in the competition."


2 thoughts on “The creative spirit: A couple of dancers”

  1. Oh, my. What a beautiful dance piece. Just gorgeous.

    As a dancer, I love dance videos but I never look them up. I wait for folks to point me in that direction (mostly because I don’t enjoy other types of videos much). Thank you.

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