Friday, June 12, 2009

Hardest Working Couple in Show Business

The girl was a beautiful, promising professional ballerina when her world came crashing down at the tender age of 19.

The ballerina lost her right arm in a car accident. Shortly thereafter, a handsome boyfriend walked out of her life.

The ballerina survived a suicide attempt and eventually learned how to live independently and do many things including combing her hair, which she trimmed from waist-length to shoulder-length.

She also learned to cook and wash clothes.

But, deep in her heart, she still yearned to dance.

In September 2005, the ballerina ran into a 21-year-old young man who was training to be a national level cyclist. The cyclist had fallen off a tractor at the age of 4, losing his left leg. Despite his handicap, the young man grew up as an optimistic and athletic kid, attempting high-jumping, long-jumping, diving and swimming before settling on cycling.

But, he did not dance.

He was dumbfounded when the ballerina extended the invitation.

"Dance with one leg .... are you joking with me? No way!"

Nevertheless, the cyclist agreed to give it a try and began rehearsals with the perfection-seeking ballerina. The partners broke up a few times when she would lose patience and the young man would walk out. Eventually, they came back together and started training seriously, often from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., working on a single movement. For more than a year, they perfected a routine that has become known as "Hand in Hand".

"I often failed to keep balance when holding her, so we fell down a lot," the young man recalled, including one spill in which he dislocated his shoulder.

In April, 2007 the hard-working couple were one of the finalists among 7000 competitors in China's 4th CCTV national dance competition. They won the Silver medal with the 99.17 high score and scored # 1 with popular votes from the audience.

It would appear Ma Li and Zhai Xiaowei were moved by a spirit that now moves others.

Dance has been described as "a minimum of explanation, a minimum of anecdotes and a maximum of sensations". It has the power to move us in so many ways beyond the physical realm.

If life is a dance from from one stage to the next, the ballerina and the young man have showed us that dancing with our bodies is one thing, but dancing with our hearts is another.

The next time when you hear yourself or someone else say, “I can’t”, feel free to draw from the spirit of this dance.

"The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing"

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