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Artist Profile: Yuxuan Liu

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Ms. Yuxuan Liu (Courtesy of Shen Yun Performing Arts)

NEW YORK—Ms. Yuxuan Liu has been performing classical Chinese dance for 11 years. She started with Canada’s Lotus Performing Arts Troupe in 2001, and auditioned into New York’s Fei Tian Academy of the Arts in 2007.

Ms. Liu studied piano, singing, and painting from a young age, but she chose classical Chinese dance as her specialization and her career.

Through dance, Ms. Liu wants to “present the most beautiful side of Chinese culture,” she said, seeing that traditional Chinese culture has been damaged by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and that nowadays Westerners readily associate China with the CCP.

“Chinese culture is 5,000 years old,” she said. “People haven’t seen the real art from that 5,000-year heritage.”

Distinct from other classical dance forms, classical Chinese dance is known for its expressiveness. With a comprehensive set of movements, each intricately planned to express meanings, classical Chinese dance can be used to depict a wide variety of characters, Ms. Liu said.

“Every dance is different. For dances of the Tang dynasty you must have a feeling of grandeur … If you are a heavenly lady you should have a feeling of compassion. You come from the heavens, so you have to be distinguishing. When you walk onto the stage, you have to have a very divine feeling,” she said. 

In a year 2011 dance piece, Ms. Liu played a lady being abducted by Pigsy, a character in the book Journey to the West.

“When I dance, I need to keep in mind the context of the story and depict the character,” she said. “I am a lady and I have to act that I am a very modest lady from the ancient times.”

Classical Chinese dances are mostly used to present historical stories and legends with deep meaning.

“There is an emphasis on character development,” Ms. Liu said. “You must feel it from the bottom of your heart—it is not just a simple dance pose. There has to be a feeling from your heart.”

“When I am on stage, I don’t think about, ‘oh, I have to show off how good I am.’ Instead, we strive to deliver the best, precious and purest things to the audience.”

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