Thursday, May 15, 2014

A mesmerizing dance

I'm not sure how many readers are familiar with the Buddhist divinity Kannon Bosatsu, the Goddess of Mercy.  She's also known as Guanyin in some cultures, and in some forms bears the title 'The Goddess of a Thousand Arms'.  According to Wikipedia:

One Buddhist legend ... presents Guanyin as vowing to never rest until she had freed all sentient beings from the samsara or reincarnation. Despite strenuous effort, she realised that there were still many unhappy beings yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces. The buddha Amitabha, upon seeing her plight, gave her eleven heads to help her hear the cries of those who are suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokitesvara attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that her two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha came to her aid and appointed her a thousand arms to let her reach out to those in need.

Every year in Japan there's a festival to honor Senju Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy.  It includes an ornate and elaborate dance sequence, which World Of Japan describes as follows:

Besides the beauty of dance and the execution of optical effects, there is something even more incredible: the persons who realize the performance are deaf, dumb or have some other physical or mental disability. They train in a special school in China, dedicated to work with these disabilities.

So it’s fascinating to know how they can follow the music with such good rhythm without being able to hear it. What they do is follow the gestures of the teacher in the corner of the performance who tells them when they have to do the next move. Of course, they needed a lot of practice and the teacher is only an extra aid.

The dance is performed by deaf people, as, according to the director, they can express their inner beauty this way.

Here's a video clip of the performance from 2007.  I highly recommend watching it in full-screen mode.



Rawle Nyanzi said...

I watched it this morning.

It's pretty mesmerizing, and very smooth to boot.

LCB said...

Wow...sometimes you see something so beautiful it just takes your breath away.