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Teenager who lost his leg in Wenchuan Earthquake now becomes "dancing king"

(People's Daily Online)    09:41, May 14, 2020

Photo from Red Star News

In the Wenchuan Earthquake that occurred in 2008, 15-year-old Xie Haifeng lost his left calf. Twelve years later, he has become a professional dancer, known as the "one-leg dancing king," in a song and dance theater in Southwest China's Sichuan province.

"At that time, we were still in the dormitory, and the earthquake was relatively small at first. We all thought someone was shaking the bed mischievously, but after a few seconds the noise outside became loud, and there was shouting. Running out together with my classmates, as soon as I rushed outside the house behind me collapsed," Xie Haifeng recalled from the day when the earthquake occurred.

Losing part of his leg, Xie experienced a long period of frustration and confusion. What impressed him was in the hospital that day, a group of athletes came to the ward. "One of the athletes walked several laps in front of me and asked me if I thought he was different from the others. I didn't see it until he pulled up his pant leg, and I found he had an amputation just like me, with a prosthetic leg in place. "

Xie revealed at that moment, he was more shocked than surprised. "I suddenly had strength in my heart and felt that there was hope for my life. It turned out that if I lost a leg, I could not only walk normally, but also become an athlete. I told myself secretly that I should be like him!"

Photo from Red Star News

After returning to school in 2009, Xie dropped out the next year. "At that time, I was a little self-conscience. I didn’t dare wear shorts, and I usually communicated little with my classmates, which was very depressing."

Fortunately, in 2010, Xie came to Chengdu with the help of other people, joined a disabled art troupe to learn skills and slowly built up his self-confidence in the process. "On the second anniversary of the earthquake, May 12, 2010, I performed on stage for the first time. I remember the audience applauded warmly, which inspired me a lot. It was wonderful."

Every time when he wanted to give up, he would think of the applause and encouragement of the audience, reminding himself to cherish this opportunity and stick to it no matter the obstacle. "After practicing I was used to the pain and would tell myself that since I chose to dance, I always had to bear it."

"Now I can live like a normal person. I am no longer afraid of other people's eyes. There may be some curiosity, but there is no pity in the way people look at me," Xie said, adding that now he will confidently walk the streets of Chengdu in shorts and even buy some patterned socks to put on his prosthetic leg. "It's sometimes cool to show various patterns on prosthetics."

Xie has always dreamed of opening a dance studio of his own in the future. "Right now I feel I don’t have enough experience, so I plan to go to another dance studio first to accumulate some teaching experience. I hope this dream can manifest in the near future! " Xie said. 

Photo from Red Star News

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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