Sonova, manufacturer of hearing care solutions worldwide, is inviting one of the best dancers in China to visit Switzerland and Germany. Tianjiao Zhang is making an appearance at Sonova’s annual general shareholders’ meeting in Zurich on 13 June and another at a charity event near Munich on 16 June. Despite her profound hearing loss, the 20-year-old artist is dancing at the highest level, and her moving story has been showcased by the Sonova Group: an emotional portrait in film about the young performer’s life and dreams demonstrates how people with hearing loss can live a life without limitations.
“My heart beats along to rhythm when I hear music,” says Tianjiao Zhang enthusiastically. “Dancing is a wonderful thing and I feel the music in my heart.” Even as a child, the young dancer knew that there was only one career for her, despite her profound hearing loss – and she has been supported in this endeavour by her hearing aids, manufactured by the Sonova brand Phonak, which she has been wearing since early childhood.
Tianjiao Zhang has had an exemplary career. At the age of 16, she became the only competitor with hearing loss to represent China at a dance competition in Ukraine – and went on to win. Having danced to victory by proving herself the most talented artist in a very popular contest on Chinese television when she was 17, Tianjiao Zhang now appears with a range of professional dance troupes and gives ballet lessons to children.
This short film captures Tianjiao Zhang’s route into professional dance: Lights, camera, action!
The young artist shall present a program of modern free dance backed by the soulful classic pop of Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi at Sonova’s annual general shareholders’ meeting and at a charity event in Ettal Abbey in aid of Sonova’s Hear the World Foundation.
That Tianjiao Zhang has been able to achieve her dream of becoming a dancer is the exception rather than the rule in her homeland of China as well. Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that some 60 million people in China are affected by hearing loss, with only 5% of them possessing a hearing aid; by comparison, market penetration in Europe is up to 40%. One reason for China’s low showing is the limited awareness there of the treatment options available for hearing loss, and Sonova’s local educational work is helping to gradually raise awareness of these.