‘Everyone Has a Purpose’: NTD Dance Finalist

‘Everyone Has a Purpose’: NTD Dance Finalist
Ethan Guo performs "Fan of a Foreign Land" in the preliminary round of the NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition in Purchase, New York, on Sept. 8, 2023. (Larry Dye)

Ethan Guo, a student at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, left China at a young age and found himself in an unfamiliar land, far away from relatives and everything he was used to. He drew on those feelings for his piece “Fan of a Foreign Land” at the 10th NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition.

“I picked this piece because it’s an expression of your inner feelings from beginning to end,” he said. “In many aspects, it was quite suitable for me.”

Mr. Guo is a 2023 finalist for the dance competition and will be performing in the last round of the competition on Sept. 10 in Purchase, New York.

“The ancients said that you should use a positive mindset to face your problems,” Mr. Guo said. “In my piece … there’s tragic emotions too. But in life, everyone has a purpose.”

“Because of that, one can completely abandon minor pursuits for more significant things.”

He felt this approach to life, rooted in traditional culture, came though in the dance he chose. Mr. Guo said he joined the competition for an opportunity to better himself, and also to promote traditional Chinese culture, embodied in the art form of classical Chinese dance. For Mr. Guo, this is his life’s purpose.

“Here, we’re promoting China’s 5,000 years of civilization,” he said. “Our dance pieces depict excerpts from China’s 5,000-year-old culture. They teach people how to be good, how to hold themselves to higher principles.”

The ancient lessons Mr. Guo tried to embody in his dance spoke to his own situation in dance training.

“Learning dance is, honestly, not easy. You have to overcome a lot of hurdles and face a lot of your own problems,” he said. “And you have to demand that of yourself. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, no one else will. But in order to reach a higher realm of dance, you have to really require yourself to do better and better, continually—physically and mentally.

“We all want to become better and better people so we can express these things on stage,” he said of the dancers in the competition.

“If off stage, you’re normally doing all sorts of things you’re not proud of, I think to portray someone upright on stage would feel dissonant. It’d be hard, and you might not even be able to do it well,” he said.

Technique, in particular the difficult flips and jumps, is something Mr. Guo has always found difficult.

“So I fall a lot. In order to overcome this, you can only get up and do it again and again and again,” he said. “And I’ve had a lot of support from peers and teachers as well. So no matter what, I’ll put my best foot forward.”

From The Epoch Times

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