On Dec. 17 at the Northern Academy of the Arts nestled away in New York State’s beautiful Hudson Valley, the Shen Yun Arts Proficiency Assessment Center (APAC) held their End-of-Semester Performance featuring children, ages seven to nine, who have been practicing their dance routines with the center for over two months and who will be testing with the center next year.
According to the centers website, the APAC is an “artistic platform for those with aspirations – whether it’s to cultivate interest at an early age, fulfill the artistic dreams from your childhood, or to help you develop artistic skills that you can pass on.”
Founded in 2006, Shen Yun is the world’s premier performing arts and entertainment company featuring seven equally large troupes that perform simultaneously around the world. Based in New York, the non-profit organization produces unique performances and symphony concerts inspired by ancient civilizations and celestial realms.
Through breathtaking dance and music, Shen Yun brings together artists from all across the globe in stunning performances showcasing vibrant costumes, acrobatics, and choreography — all while reviving 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture and heritage onstage.
Shen Yun’s performances have attracted significant attention from industry professionals including from Robert Stromberg, Academy Award-winning production designer for Avatar who said of the performance, “So inspiring. I think I may have found some new ideas for the next Avatar movie,” and by six-time Tony Award-winning producer Stewart F. Lane who said, “Exciting to watch and really inspirational!”
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In August, 2022 the APAC officially released comprehensive course materials for classical Chinese dance training. The course materials were created by Shen Yun artists and are the culmination of their experiences, gathered from years of professional training, performing, and teachings in classical Chinese dance and acrobatics.
The proficiency course materials are accessible online on the APAC website.
The day’s performance featured four distinct dances performed by the center’s students who were dressed in traditional Chinese garb, excluding the young men’s performance who were dressed entirely in stage black. The first performance involved students from across the class while the following three dance routines were performed by subsets of the group.
Lily Cao, the person in charge of APAC’s face-to-face classes said that “In just over two months, I saw the children’s seriousness, standardization, and some witty and interesting small performance combinations,” adding that she “gave the children high praise and encouragement,” and that she is looking forward to seeing the children continue to work hard preparing for a scheduled performance in June 2023.
Xian Yuan, an Associate Professor at Feitian College, was also in attendance to assess the student’s performance and answer questions from parents.
The APAC’s mission is to cultivate form and temperament by utilizing classical Chinese dance and aims to lay a solid dance foundation for those who want to move into the world of professional dance. APAC provides a professional training platform for anyone who wishes to learn classical Chinese dance.
The APAC has gathered the world’s top Chinese dancers, all of whom have won numerous international competitions and offers course material specially curated by many Shen Yun dance artists.
Aspiring dancers of any age are encouraged to contact APAC. Course material is designed for all levels of ability and is suitable for children aged seven and up as well as teenagers and adults.