A Glorious Feast of Traditional Chinese Dance - sama7b



A Glorious Feast of Traditional Chinese Dance

The New Tang Dynasty Television’s (NTDTV) Chinese New Year Spectacular has returned with an all-new lineup of dance troupes that showcase the vast range of different folk traditions from Mongolia to Tibet to the Yunnan region of China.

The show features acclaimed choreographer Yung Yung Tsuai, who has been with the Spectacular since its inception in 2004. Ms. Tsuai has been teaching contemporary dance at the Martha Graham School and working with the Graham Company since she arrived in the United States in 1970 on a Martha Graham Scholarship.

Ms. Tsuai believes that the Spectacular is a significant production for many people because, over the last 100 years, much of China’s rich traditional culture has been destroyed. She says that “People have lost their roots.” Ms. Tsuai added that “Our performers want wholeheartedly to convey their culture and traditions to the audience to remind them, and themselves, of who the Chinese are.”

Hundreds of dancers from all over the United States and Canada rehearsed almost every day for over a year. Yung Yung Tsuai is one of six dance teachers, all of whom graduated from China’s top dance schools, resulting in a combined total of more than a hundred years of training and experience.

Ms. Tsuai emphasizes that collaboration is a significant part of the project because choreographers use traditional themes and styles, but many dances combine the styles of both east and west, fusing ballet techniques with the expressiveness of classical Chinese dance.

All the dancers train extensively in both ballet and classical Chinese dance. Ms. Tsuai explains that ballet helps dancers develop the skill needed to execute classical Chinese movements. For Ms. Tsuai, what is unique about the Spectacular is not just the dances themselves or the dazzling costumes, but how they affect the audience.

During the brief moments when each piece is presented on the stage, viewers will feel they have entered a time and place governed by chivalry, loyalty, and honesty—where beauty and peace prevail.

Ms. Tsuai says that “We are not just showing people traditional Chinese culture; we are waking up the part of them that yearns for beauty and goodness.” She returns to the Spectacular every year, sometimes as a choreographer and sometimes as a dance teacher.

She explains that this is what motivates the hundreds of dancers who give their lives over to the handful of days a year when the show comes to the stage.

“Art is the food of the soul,” Ms. Tsuai says. “If you see art that promotes peace and harmony, you will bring that home with you. That’s what’s important. In the past, people lived as if they were in a divine realm. Daily life wasn’t necessarily religious, but it was very spiritual.

When art presents the beauty and positive side of human nature, it can positively influence people in how they relate to others in their daily lives.”

Ms. Tsuai is confident that the audience will leave NTDTV’s Chinese New Year Spectacular feeling not only entertained but nourished and rejuvenated by this veritable feast for the soul. With over a year of rehearsals and six expert dance teachers, the Spectacular offers an unforgettable experience that not only showcases China’s rich cultural traditions but also has the power to move and inspire its audience.