Sophie was born profoundly deaf to two famous ballet dancers – Li Cunxin (Mao’s Last Dancer) and Mary Li (nee McKendry) of Mary’s Last Dance. However, it was not until she was eighteen months old when it was first discovered and diagnosed. Her parents’ world shattered: their hope for their daughter to join their love of dance and music was no more. Sophie’s mother then made the most heart breaking decision of her life: Mary Li gave up her beloved international ballet career to devote herself to teaching Sophie to hear and speak.
After countless hours of speech therapy, hearing aids clearly did not help Sophie. Her parents took the leap of faith and Sophie received her first cochlear implant at age four. It became a journey for Sophie to navigate between two worlds: deaf and hearing. However, both worlds collided when Sophie became an adult and started to learn Auslan (Australian Sign Language). She began to question her parents’ earlier decisions.
As she embraced the deaf and signing community, Sophie had a choice to make — did she still want to be part of the hearing world of her family?