Watch a Mesmerizing Hand Ballet Performed for the 2020 Paralympics Hand Off Ceremony

Paralympic Games Hand-Off Ceremony

The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games had a special, choreographed performance as part of its closing handoff ceremony. Choreographed by Sadeck Waff, the beautiful hand ballet was executed perfectly in sync by 126 professional and amateur performers in wheelchairs. Each person donned a black shirt that made their arm movements—folding, unfolding, and an “x” formation—all the more mesmerizing.

The performance started with a spotlight on Oxandre Peku, a 12-year-old boy who was the first person in France to receive a 3D-printed, multi-grip bionic “Hero Arm” by Open Bionics. After his cameo, it transitioned to the stage of performers in wheelchairs who worked in synced with music composed by Woodkid and performed by Orchestre National de France. The final move had the group create “2024” with their hands as a symbol of the forthcoming Paralympic Games in France (in 2024).

Although not the exact routine, Waff’s choreography for the Paralympics is reminiscent of some of his other sequences. In particular, his Murmuration Project 64 features some of the same tight arm movements that the games had. It was informed by a murmuration of starlings. “There is magic everywhere, the key is knowing how to look, know how to see and listen in silence,” he writes, “like a cloud of birds forming waves in the sky, each individual has his own identity, but an irreplaceable place in the whole.”

Watch the handoff ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, below.

French choreographed Sadeck Waff created a beautiful hand ballet for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games closing handoff ceremony.

Paralympic Games Hand-Off Ceremony

The performers were all perfectly in sync, ending the performance by creating “Paris” and “2024” with their arms. (Paris is the next location of the games.)

Paralympic Games Hand-Off Ceremony

Paralympic Games Hand-Off Ceremony

Watch the mesmerizing performance:

Be sure to check out Waff's other choreographed pieces, including Murmuration Project 64 which was informed by the murmuration of starling birds.

Sadeck Waff: Instagram | YouTube

All images via YouTube.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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