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Dance Competition Kicks Off a Renaissance of Chinese Culture
Rory Xu, The Epoch Times
While the Divine Performing Arts Troupe continues to tour the world setting off waves of acclaim for its genuine “Chinese New Year Spectacular,” New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) is launching the first-ever International Chinese Classical Dance Competition scheduled for July 6 to 8, 2007, in New York City.
“The competition aims to support and promote Chinese classical dance, deepening Western society's understanding of Chinese culture, and providing a platform for inter-cultural communication,” Yin Lei, spokesperson for the event, told The Epoch Times after a press conference in New York City.
Chinese classical dance has developed into an independent art form. Originating in ancient times, classical dance in the Middle Kingdom drew from each dynasty in Chinese history. Its evolution and development was influenced by the culture of each dynasty and nurtured with the essence of other art forms of the same era, such as the Chinese opera.
“The beauty of Chinese classical dance is deeply rooted in the ancient Chinese culture. Classical dance not only depicts events and characters, but also has the capacity to fully convey the deep meaning underpinning the ancient stories,” Tia Zhang said to The Epoch Times. Ms. Zhang chairs the competition's preparatory committee and is the founder of the Toronto Lotus Flower Art Troupe.
It is believed that Chinese culture is divinely-imparted, passed down by God, with Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism forming its moral core. The Taoist belief in the unity of heaven and humanity has coursed through Chinese culture and teaches: “Man follows the earth, the earth follows Heaven, Heaven follows the Tao, and the Tao follows what is natural.”
Two thousand years ago, Confucius taught the ideals represented by the five cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness. In the first century, Shakyamuni’s Buddhism, with its emphasis on compassion and salvation for all beings, traveled east to China, according to “Nine Commentaries of the Communist Party.”
Guided by ancient wisdom, the Chinese people believed that “good will be rewarded with good, and evil will meet with evil” and upheld the social standard of “doing as you would be done by.”
In the past, the Chinese people worshiped God, lived in harmony with nature, cultivated their heart towards compassion, safeguarded morality and righteous belief, and cultivated the spiritual practices of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
Chinese culture and traditions were passed down from generation to generation. “In this process, dancing functioned as a carrier to hand over the torch in its unique way, together with other art forms such as Chinese literature, calligraphy, architecture, music, sculpture, and gardening,” said Mr. Yin.
He took a 2007 NTDTV “Spectacular” dance as an example. “The Loyalty of Yue Fei” dramatizes an historical event of the Song Dynasty when the Jin Kingdom invaded China from the north. Before General Yue Fei left home to push back the invaders, his elderly mother tattooed four characters on his back: “Jing Zhong Bao Guo,” meaning “Serve the country with utmost loyalty.”
An accomplished Chinese classical dancer, Vina Li portrayed Yue Fei’s mother in the dance. She explained: “This is a representative piece to show that a noble person possesses loyalty, obedience, moral integrity, and righteousness, which are all derived from the teachings of Confucius.”
Mr. Yin mentioned another dance of the Spectacular, "A Dunhuang Dream,” which highlighted the qualities of Buddhism. Ms. Li said: “This story says that people should be faithful to God. Heavenly beings will help and inspire them if they cherish purity and compassion in their heart.”
“These are the core values of Chinese culture; however, they have been destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), although the CCP still maintains the surface appearance.”
“Nine Commentaries” states that culture is a nation’s root. Destroying the culture is no different from eliminating the nation.
Mr. Yin said, “To reawaken the Chinese culture is every Chinese [person’s] obligation. Classical dance can help people reconnect with genuine Chinese culture and history by glorifying faithfulness and virtue, and expressing gratefulness towards God.”
Art critic Yan Long comments in his essay: “As the European Renaissance began with painting, the Chinese Renaissance is starting with NTDTV's New Year performance.”
“Just as the European Renaissance released people from the religious and social oppression of the Middle Ages, the Chinese Renaissance will release the Chinese people from the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party culture,” he says.
His comments resonate with what a German audience member said to The Epoch Times: “I explored a fresh China through the show, which is different from what I had learned before. I was touched by the dances and the music of the show.”
The NTDTV International Chinese Classical Dance Competition promotion says that this is the first competition for Chinese dance ever. Experts predict that appreciating and learning Chinese classical dance will soon become a popular trend around the world.
See dance.ntdtv.com to purchase tickets.
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