Arts & Culture

A Career Turns From Despair To the Divine

BY Xia Muozhu TIMEMarch 27, 2011 PRINT
Mr. Gu Yun, a principal dancer with Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company. (Chen Ming/The Epoch Times)
Mr. Gu Yun, a principal dancer with Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company. (Chen Ming/The Epoch Times)

After Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company finished its seventh performance in Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Gu Yun, its principal dancer, accepted an interview. Fresh from the stage, he said, “The greatest thing I’ve gotten from Shen Yun is the spiritual inspiration and the elevation in my artistic realm, instead of simply teaching you to take a business road.”

Gu began learning dance while very young. “I went to Beijing to learn professional dance at 14, and was admitted to The Beijing Academy of Dance when I was 20, specializing in classical Chinese dance.”

Gu made amazing progress in a short time. He won the First Prize for trio dance at China’s most prestigious dance event, The Peach & Plum Cup Dance Competition in 2003, and the following year at the same competition won the coveted Teachers’ Award. He won first place for trio dance at the eighth annual Beijing Dance Competition, and first place for solo dance at the fifth annual Shandong Province Dance Competition. Gu also won first prize in the majors’ division at China’s inaugural national collegiate dance competition, and won an award for dance directing at the Shandong Province Dance Competition.

Yet all this success did not come without a price. “Because I had injured my waist, I thought I actually should bid farewell to performing on stage and would have to leave the field of performance.” He recalled the gloomy days in the past, saying; “I was hurt in college in Beijing. I felt I should say goodbye to performing live.”

His enthusiasm for classical Chinese dance, however, did not die out merely because his career on the stage was ended. He came to the USA to teach classical Chinese dance in a dance school in Los Angeles in 2009.

“I heard that classical Chinese dance was hot in the US at that time, but I didn’t know it was because of Shen Yun. Shen Yun’s performances make the dance fans around the world enthusiastic about classical Chinese dance and want to learn it. I simply wanted to promote what I had learned to the world at that time. I came to the US with that aspiration.”

After teaching here for a month, Gu learned that the New Tang Dynasty Television was holding an International Classical Chinese Dance competition. He became interested and intended to participate in it. Unfortunately, the registration time had expired. Nonetheless, he was still lucky enough to learn more about Shen Yun and watched a performance. “When I first saw Shen Yun’s performance, I thought it was rather incredible that there could be such a group of people and such a big company to show the Chinese traditional culture via the artistic form of classical Chinese dance in the US and in the world.”

The show completely changed Mr. Gu’s artistic life. He made what he regards as the most significant decision and decisive leap forward in his life, and joined the company. “Shen Yun Performing Arts is restoring traditional Chinese culture, with such pure, compassionate, and beautiful forms. It really moved me, so I decided to join it,” he said. “When I joined Shen Yun, I really felt quite a difference, something like sublimation. The aspiration and ideal I held when coming to the US was elevated spiritually after joining Shen Yun.”

“I remember how I hurt my waist again when making a flip during a rehearsal. I couldn’t move at that time, so I remained off stage. For the typical dancer, including myself in the past, I would have had to lie in bed for a week or more. However, the spiritual energy one feels with Shen Yun is quite powerful. I thought I was O.K. at the moment, and I wanted to go on dancing on the stage. Though I felt a bit of pain, after finishing dancing, I recovered and was able to join the next day’s performance. It’s miraculous yet it really happened!”

“Shen Yun Performing Arts tours the world every year. Each of the three companies performs more than 100 shows in half a year. Such a huge amount of exercise and the intensity of performances would be impossible for the average performing company. If you don’t have the spiritual pursuit and support, it’s really impossible to achieve it. It depends on the spiritual dedication. Shen Yun can achieve it, because it is an issue of spiritual realm,” said Gu.

“As a dancer, don’t you get tired?” he was asked.

“It’s deceiving people to say I don’t get tired. I feel tired once in a while,” Mr. Gu replied.

Then he smiled, and said: “You feel that you seem unable to jump up. You feel you can’t do a tuck dive. However, when it’s time to perform, and I stand at the side of the stage about to perform, I feel like a completely different person at that moment. As I dance on the stage, I really feel like I am being helped by a divine power.”

Read the original Chinese article.

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