NEW YORK—Classical Chinese dancer Mr. Cheng-En Huang has quite a following in his hometown of Chiayi, Taiwan.
Each time he performs in Taiwan, his friends and fans from Chiayi rent a bus to watch him on stage.
“The whole bus was filled. I was really surprised and happy to see them,” Mr. Huang relayed the heartwarming story during a recent interview with The Epoch Times.
Taipei is only one of the many cities Mr. Huang has performed in practicum for Shen Yun, a world-renowned Chinese performing arts company whose mission is to revive traditional Chinese arts and culture.
Growing up, the arts was a large part of Mr. Huang’s life; his family placed special emphasis on arts and culture. Chinese culture especially held a precious place in his heart.
Mr. Huang is not only assisting in promoting classical Chinese dance, but he—and the company he is performing in practicum with, Shen Yun Performing Arts—is also on a mission to help revive traditional Chinese culture and history, which has been lost over the past half century in mainland China due to the Chinese Communist Party.
“We all know that China has experienced the Cultural Revolution, and they—the Chinese Communist Party—tried to ruin classical Chinese culture,” he said. “You can see today in China, the traditional thoughts—such as the five Confucian traits: compassion, wisdom, loyalty, trust, propriety—we cannot see that truly anymore.”
Mr. Huang said Shen Yun is reviving that traditional culture.
“Actually when I first performed in practicum with Shen Yun Performing Arts, I thought, ‘Oh, this is only dance,’ and I didn’t really think that this could do that,” he said.
But over the years, his experience, as well as the audience feedback he has received, has proved that Shen Yun is indeed serving to uplift this culture.
Acting a Role
Mr. Huang is frequently cast in a role within a dance that requires expressive facial presentation and defined movements and postures that assist in storytelling.
“I enjoy acting,” he said with a beaming smile. “When I’m on stage acting, I really become the character.”
“During rehearsal, I always think about the role in depth,” he said. “For instance, if I am a heavenly guard, I will become that person by adopting his thinking and actions. Then when I am changing costumes, I think to myself what the next dance is, and think about the environment, the background, so I can immerse myself into that character.”
“Sometimes when I see the audience during curtain call, and see them applauding, I will think to myself, ‘did I do well together? Did I put my heart into it?’”
Mr. Huang takes hours to do background research on a specific character he will portray in a piece, especially if the character is a historical figure or an important catalyst in a story.
In one dance he was cast as a Buddha. While on stage, “I really felt compassion from my heart,” he said. “When I was performing that dance, I felt a type of energy around me, and I saw an aura around me. So at the time, it really made a deep impression on me.”
Such experiences serve as a constant motivation for Mr. Huang to elevate and do even better.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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