Dance Competition Promises a Bright Future for Chinese Dance

PureInsight | September 4, 2008

Junior female division: Chelsea Cai performs "Heavenly Maiden" .

[] According to an August 24, 2008 report in The Epoch Times, the Second Annual International Chinese Classical Dance Competition, hosted by NTDTV at the Town Hall Foundation on W. 43rd Street in Manhattan, came to a successful conclusion. The awards ceremony was held in the Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center, immediately following a performance by Divine Performing Arts, a New York-based classical Chinese dance company.

The dance competition concludes with the grand prize presentations at the awards ceremony.

After three days of intense competition, 30 dancers entered the final round of competition using their superb skills and pure rhythms to depict many different characters, such as applying tumbling skills to illustrate both innocence and liveliness.

Alison Chen's "Little Dragon Lady," Angelia Wang’s "Little Fair Child," and Chin-Cheng Chen’s "Little Monk" each glowed with vibrant personality. Portraying the historical hero Yue Fei, using different body language and moves, William Li danced a youthful Yue Fei, while Bojian Li in "Azolla" performed a mature one. With the same illustration of determination, Rocky Liao's  "Jing Ke" and Brian Nieh's "Su Wu Longs for Returning" each expressed different conflicted emotions. For dignity and grace, Lily Wang's graceful movements in "Fair Lady in a Bamboo Garden," Jennifer Su's heavenly quality in “Whispers of Flowers,” and Regina Dong’s “Rhythm of Spring,” were all charming and genuine performances.


Junior Female Division


Junior female division: Chelsea Cai performs "Heavenly Maiden."

Champion: Chelsea Cai
Runner-Up: Alison Chen
Second Runners-Up: Cindy Liu, Angelia Wang
Excellence Awards: Xiya Li, Miranda Zhou-Galati, Serena Liang, Lily Wang

Junior male division: Bojian (Golden) Li in "Azolla"

Junior Male Division
Champion: Bojian (Golden) Li
Runner-Up: Juncheng Chen
Second Runners-Up: Rocky Liao, Tony Xue
Excellence Awards: Po-Hung Lin, Gary Liu, Xin Liu, William Li

Adult Female Division

Adult female division: Jennifer Su dances "Whispers of Flowers."

Champion: None
Runner-Up: Jennifer Su
Second Runners-Up: Ting-Jie Huang, Yingzi
Excellence Awards: Madeline Lobjois, Sharon Gao, Wendy Su, Regina Dong

Adult Male Division

Adult male division: Tim Wu wins for "Writing and Expressing."

Champion: Tim Wu
Runner-Up: Jason Shi
Second Runners-Up: Leon Zhao, Steven Wang
Excellence Awards: Brian Nieh, Seongho Cha, Arnold Yu

Let the World See Authentic Chinese Classical Dance

A veteran Chinese classical dance expert and member of the competition jury, Ms. Guo Xiu, believes that the competition’s award-winning dancers have truly mastered the art of Chinese dance in regards to dance forms, vocabulary, and acting while imbuing the principles of being human. Their style is very elegant and they successfully show the world pure Chinese classical dance.

Guo said, “Chinese classical dance has a long history, and yet, inside and outside China, understanding of Chinese classical dance varies tremendously among people in the dance world. Questions, such as, ‘What are the true body language and techniques?’ ‘Is that kind of figure good for drama?’ ‘Are these skills martial arts?’ Today, these professional dancers provide us with an intuitive, emotional awareness of Chinese dance, and what people are seeing are the pure and authentic Chinese dance. And that is an encouraging start.”

Ting-Jie Huang, a finalist in the adult female division, believes that the dancers in this competition exhibit a very high overall standard, utilize body language and technique to more accurately express delicate emotions and display more readily the moods of classical dance. As a result, people can better understand Chinese classical dance and Chinese culture.

Touching and Perfect Performance

Ms. Zhou Jie from Canada said in an interview that, “the competition was very rich in content and the dancers performed perfectly.” “It seems to be a very difficult job to pick a champion because every dancer is so good,” she said.
Tibetan composer Mar Pay Bata from Columbia University said, “The performances are perfect and the dancing brings joy and comfort to the audience. I saw sword, fan, musical instruments, chess, calligraphy, and brush painting all portrayed with strong cultural flavor. The gentle female fan dance, the strong male fan dance, and the ‘Heavenly Beauty Spreading Flowers Around’ were very moving.” He believes that, “When the dancers really put love into their performance, sometimes a single movement can touch people's hearts deeply.”

New York freelance journalist Simon Applebaum said, “The dancers have superb skills. They not only move well but also synchronize with the music very well. They told many stories and described many vivid characters. They bring dance to another level.”
Feeling the Spiritual Power and Renewing Moral Strength

Mr. Applebaum also felt that “Chinese culture emphasizes spirituality, diversity, inner peace, and harmony.”

Artist Ehua Huron from New York said, “The dancers are very professional in terms of their techniques and they demonstrated a wide range of facial expressions.” Through this competition, he “saw the exhibition of determination and confidence. There was also a feeling of sacredness as if they were dances from heaven.”
Composer Mar Pay Bata said, “The dancers possess a spirit of enduring hardship and perseverance. The Chinese Communist Party has messed up the traditional culture. However, this display of virtue and high moral standards can teach people how to maintain a righteous outlook, for example, firmness, persistence, justice, enduring hardship and progression.”

He explained, “Music affects people and, meticulously merged with dance movements, can be very touching, very moving. I feel pure, bright, and kind-hearted. I will be thinking of improving moral conduct and the well-being of society.”

Dance Competition Displays Lofty Goals and Pure Realms

In the second session of the “NTDTV International Chinese Classical Dance Competition,” a majority of the dancers adapted stories from Chinese history that many people are very familiar with, and some dancers sought to portray their own life journey in search of the truth or purpose in life. As a whole, their dancing presented lofty goals and pure realms.
Chinese dance is a part of China's god-given culture, which is very rich and provides unlimited material for dance. NTDTV’s Chinese dance competition allowed people to gain better understandings of the origin of Chinese culture. Only the Chinese dance form could convey the colorful and diverse stories from the rich history of China.

These legends of unforgettable stories, including heroic sacrifice for justice, the loyalty of Yue Fei, the blood and tears of Su Mu, and the handsome “Female General Yang.” All have been well presented in this competition: Rocky Liao's “Jing Ke,” William Li's “Youthful Yue Fei,” Bojian Li's “Azolla,” Brian Nieh's “Su Wu Longs for Returning,” Wendy Su's “Female General Yang.”

“Cultivation practice” is an integral part of divinely inspired culture and was also widely presented in the competition. Such performances included the opportunity to cultivate in the “Tao” by Arnold Yu, “Karma” by Yingzi, expressions of the purity of cultivators in “Peaceful Lotus” by Xiya Li, “Pure-hearted Lotus” by Cindy Liu, “Lotus Fairy” by Miranda Zhou-Galati, “Paradise” by Zhuhui Liao, “Little Fair Child” by Angelia Wang, “Heavenly Beauty Spreading Flowers Around” by Jialing Chen, “Children in Paradise” by Xinlei Chi.

Dance Awakens the Memory of Ancient Chinese People

After watching the competition, one person from the audience said, “All the dancers in the competition have a good understanding of Chinese dance and strong ability to display it. Traditional Chinese culture can rear good sons and daughters, but nowadays, many good sons and daughters are buried. Young Chinese men and women educated with traditional Chinese culture are hard to find. The character traits for men, following the teachings of Confucius, are simplicity, humility, reservedness, justice, and uprightness; for women, they are purity, gentleness, respect, kindness, and wittiness. Modern day people are no longer as good and pure as those gods cherished in the past.”

In general, the audience expressed that through watching Chinese classical dance, Chinese people will come to understand what authentic Chinese culture is and what Chinese people should be like. People throughout the world are paying attention to Chinese culture, dance, music, including how Chinese people should behave or talk. In other words, they are asking what is the true Chinese race really like? Many in the audience were moved to tears during the dance competition.

Returning to the Deeper Meaning of Pure Truth and Kindness

Competition judge, Ms. Vena Lee, said that the competition is focused on the contestants' use of authentic Chinese dance skills to express their content. “This time, we have seen the dancers' personal styles, quality and spiritual aspects. They did not abuse their skills. Their performances are not decadent art but convey hope and good will. The purpose of the competition is returning to pure truth and kindness. We are slowly heading in that direction and should lead the world’s cultural trends.”

Mar Pay Bata sighed, “Chinese culture is a shiny pearl in the world’s cultural treasures. This pearl has been darkened by the Chinese Communist Party. NTDTV's violin, vocal, Chinese dance competition series, etc. seem to play a role in polishing this pearl. After being polished and restored, this pearl will shine again. Now, the whole world has seen its splendor.”

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