The finals for the Fifth International Classical Chinese Dance Competition, hosted by New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television, will be held in New York this October. The figure gracing the competition poster is Angelia Wang, Gold Award winner of the competition for the last two years.
From Xi’an City where she was born, to New York, and then to the world, Ms. Wang has, in only five years, journeyed from beginner to back-to-back championships in NTD’s dance competitions and to an internationally acclaimed classical Chinese dancer with New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Such an extraordinary achievement by a girl under 18 is unparalleled. Golden opportunities and excellent teachers, coupled with her own efforts, have paved the way for Ms. Wang to succeed.
In 2010, when she was only 15 years old, Ms. Wang won the Gold Award for the Junior Female Division in NTD’s International Classical Chinese Dance Competition.
Her dance called “Awakening in Spring” was based on a poem of the same name by Tang Dynasty poet Meng Haoran.
Ms. Wang won the Gold Award the previous year with her dance “The Heroine.” The heroine is one of the most representative figures in Tang Dynasty legends.
“My personality is more like a heroine [or swordswoman],” Ms. Wang said. “I’m upright and straightforward. I like to help people. But I also have a gentle aspect, soft along with being upright,” she said in an NTD interview.
Ms. Wang started professional dance training when she was 11 years old. She participated in the First International Classical Chinese Dance Competition in 2007 when she was just 13.
At that time, she was not familiar with international competition. She didn’t even know musical accompaniment was required for the compulsory-movement combination, so she had to perform the movements without music.
Although she did not make it to the semifinals that year, her physical condition and flexibility caught the eyes of the teachers at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts. After the competition, she was admitted to Fei Tian, which provided her a new environment for growth.
Now, just a few years later, she has become one of the principal dancers with world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Classical Chinese Dance
Shen Yun is reviving traditional Chinese culture through the vehicle of classical Chinese dance. The company requires its dancers to have the most traditional and authentic training, which includes the understanding of key concepts.
Important to classical Chinese dance is the concept of form. Form helps dancers communicate the meaning of a dance. Deviation from form means that the dance movements are not in line with traditional criteria.
Ms. Wang explained that her teacher always required students to have “the most authentic form” while dancing classical Chinese dance.
In modern China, traditional dance has deviated from these forms and is often mixed with movements from modern dance.
Classical Chinese dance also includes many tumbling and jumping techniques. Ms. Wang practices these techniques hundreds of times every day. “Every movement contains its own unique message. Maybe today I can do it well and correctly, but tomorrow my form has become deviated again, so practice is essential,” Ms. Wang said.
Authentic form hinges not only upon the elegance and the precision of the dancing stances but also on the purity and the sublimation of the dancers’ mind.
Ms. Wang has learned that the “kind of attitude you have in your daily practices will show up on the stage.” “Thus, we normally practice with the purest and most splendid mind.
“[We try] not to overdo, not to hurry, nor to please others, [but] simply to keep a happy attitude. By doing so, we can make the purest and the most magnificent manifestation on stage, and the message the spectators receive is the best,” she said.
“Taking part in the competition is neither for prizes nor for fame,” Ms. Wang said. “The whole process is to sublimate oneself, not only in the dancing skill but also in presenting authentic culture to the world.”
When she was young, Ms. Wang dreamed of traveling around the world. Shen Yun has allowed her to achieve her dream, as the company has toured cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
“The presentation of Chinese traditional culture to every corner of the world is very significant to me,” Ms. Wang said.
How does Ms. Wang balance modern life and the tranquil heart required by Shen Yun’s high standards? “The current society is very messy and full of temptation. It is very difficult to preserve a traditional point of view, but we should not follow [modern] trends unwittingly,” she said.
“The road ahead is still very long, and I have to keep humility so that I can sublimate myself even higher,” Angelia Wang has told herself.
Read the original Chinese article.
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