As a group of girls and boys danced perfectly in sync with flute strains and drum beats, performing a north-eastern folk bamboo dance, there was no way the audience could have guessed that the performers were all hearing impaired.
That was among a series of surprises on stage as 160 students from 10 schools across Maharashtra performed folk dance forms at an event called Together we Rise, as part of HT KGAF dance section powered by Killer. Students from nine other schools will perform on Tuesday.
“The beauty of the event is that it does not discriminate. It brings together privileged, under-privileged and differently abled students and unites them through dance,” said Seema Sabhlok, head of Open Forum for Principals, which organised the event. For the students, it was a chance to shine. “My family couldn’t believe it when I told them I’d be performing for an audience that made up of people from all over the world,” said Zara Sheikh, 14, of Vivek Vidyalaya, Goregaon.
Added Ajit Kanojia, 18, of Rochiram T Thadani High School for Hearing Handicapped, Chembur: “I feel that through this performance I have proved to the world that deafness can’t restrict my potential. I have an impairment but I am determined and willing to live my life to the fullest.” The audience would agree; the group got a standing ovation.
“I haven’t seen a more moving performance than this in my life,” said Ashish Bakshi, a photographer from Kolkata on vacation in the city. “These children are redefining how life should be lived.”