In 2006, a group of leading classical Chinese artists came together in New York with one wish: to revive the true essence of divinely inspired Chinese culture that had been shadowed from the modern and destructive ideology of communism, which believes anything old equals nothing of importance.
Five thousand years of civilization was almost lost under the pressure of modern ideologies.
China once was known as Shen Zhou — “The Divine Land” — a land where deities and mortals co-existed, and faith toward the divine protected and transmitted a rich culture to the people of the Earth.
Classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty. It has become a complete system of dance, embodying traditional aesthetic principles. Classical Chinese dance has three main components — bearing, form, and technical skill.
Yungchia Chen is currently an instructor at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, and was formerly a lecturer in dance at Central University for Nationalities, in Beijing. Before coming to the United States, he was a council member of the Dance Association of the Republic of China.
Trained in Chinese classical and folk dance, along with ballet, Chen won a Gold Medal at NTDTV’s 2007 International Chinese Classical Dance Competition, the International Cultural Exchange Award (top honor), the Silver Medal in choreography at Japan’s Kitakyushu International Dance Competition, the Silver Medal (performance) and the Gardener Award (pedagogy) at China’s National Peach and Plum Cup Dance Competition.
Chen is currently a choreographer as well as principal dancer with the Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company.
Yungchia Chen was born in China and grew up during the period at the end of the Cultural Revolution. In the video above, he discusses his sadness for a culture almost lost:
“All these beautiful things, things like justice and sincerity, these were all destroyed.”
Today in China, there is no real freedom of expression in daily life, or within the arts, without the worry of being spied on, and fear that anything can happen to you.
Yungchia Chen expresses more on this:
“I know that in China there are actually a lot of extremely talented classical dancers, but the choreographers can’t choreograph any traditional or outstanding pieces for them to perform… But Shen Yun is different”
To see Shen Yun Performing Arts live in a city near you, visit https://www.shenyunperformingarts.org
Written by George Orfanos