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.