Over the past couple of days, we've been spoilt by a number of amazing performances and presentations by various TCFT participants. It all started with Guilia, 26 and Billy, 27 on Tuesday, who combined street dance with traditional Indian dance to create a beautiful, breathtaking piece packed with energy. Through dance, they told an emotive story, where their two genres eventually combined.
However, it was not just dance. They were also joined by Billy's signer, Rachael, who started and ended the piece with them, providing a powerful monologue. Billy said: "Rachael symbolises my voice, because I don't speak in the performance." Some of the musicians from the project also accompanied them, as well as soul-tingling vocals from Susan and a poem that was read by Amy, translated by Milena and signed by Rachael. A banner was also unravelled to reveal text in Bosnian as part of the finale, which Guilia told me said 'They don't really care about us'.
It was bigger than dance though, as there was a special message incorporated into the story. Guilia was shocked to learn from Rachael that many deaf individuals were unaware of the risks of HIV, because they did not have access to the information, leading to them contracting the illness. Rachael later added, "In my work and my relationship with deaf people, that story is just one... of the stories that is quite devastating and quite sad... Just to be able to highlight a community that is essentially a linguistic minority is important."
Later in the day, we were treated to a performance by the Fingers Theatre, directed by Besso Kupreishvili, which was like nothing I've ever seen before. The audience were enthralled and thoroughly entertained, laughing and wowing throughout.
My ultimate favourite parts of the show had to be the Michael Jackson and Chicago segments. I'm crazy about Michael Jackson, so when I heard the start of Jam, I was ecstatic. Watching the fingers do the lean and the moonwalk was classic. It was also hilarious when Billy made a guest appearance and popped his head through some mirrors, miming Heavy D's rap segment. Chicago is one of my most loved musicals and the final dance sequence is one of my favourite parts, so seeing it danced with such precision using costumed fingers made me a very happy girl.
The Michael Jackson segment was also the best part for Ellie, 21, who said that "It was a good homage, it was a good tribute." She later added, "The Michael Jackson bit was good because they had Billy in it. The way they did it made you believe there was a huge head coming onto the stage." Ellie enjoyed the performance and would watch it again, saying that "the people were talented and really in sync with each other."
Yesterday we came together for a film night, with some lives performances scattered throughout. Getting to see the work that others do was great and really inspiring, particularly watching the short films showing performances by Parkour and Diverse City, as it gave me a better understanding of what they do.
The night was a moving and incredibly emotional experience, full of beautiful art and insights into the lives of others. Zoe, 15, showed a short film, which was a tribute to her dad who recently died in a road accident. The dance she performed was serene and stunning to watch, leaving the room in tears. A number of TCFT participants also collaborated to perform a stunning, musical spoken word piece. It gave me chills as Julia, Elma and Alexandra read each of their spoken word segments, and when they all came together to sing with four more voices accompanied by the guitar and saxophone, I was entranced. Listening to them sing, "There is light at the end of the tunnel, I will rise and take my place", left me with tears in my eyes.
All of these special moments are making TCFT the most incredible experience and I'm so glad to be a part of it. It's great to think that there is so much more to come.