This mesmerizing dance routine is a cultural phenomenon in China and with good reason
Hearing impaired performers come together in perfect synchronization to share a beautiful message.
In a world full of jaw-dropping dance routines, the Thousand Hand Guan Yin manages to captivate like no other.
A large group of performers in identical golden costumes flow together in synchronized movement so seamlessly that it appears as though one entity with several arms is moving about space.
That entity is Guan Yin, a goddess of compassion who, according to Buddhist legend, will never rest in nirvana as long as any sentient being suffers on Earth.
Guan Yin is often depicted with a thousand arms, having an eye in the palm of each hand, to symbolize an omnipresent mother figure always witnessing the pain of humanity with endless amounts of mercy, extending out one of her many arms to lend a helping hand.
The performers emulate this with intricate, delicate hand gestures while standing very close to one another, resulting in a mesmerizing optical illusion.
But the dance in and of itself isn't the most remarkable thing about this piece—each of the performers are hearing impaired.
Renowned Chinese choreographer Zhang Jigang (also known for large scale numbers like 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony) created the piece with The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe back in 1987 to further emphasize inclusivity and compassion.
The Thousand Hand Guan Yin is one of China's most famous dances
While the first iteration consisted of around 20 performers, that number has exponentially increased to between 60-80. Knowing that each of these dancers were able to sync up so flawlessly without relying on music really does make it all the more powerful.
Today, the Thousand Hand Guan Yin remains one of China’s most well known and most beloved dance routines. And thanks to the internet, we too can be inspired by its wondrous spectacle and important message.