Finalists Share What Motivates Them in NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition

The semifinal round of the 10th NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition in Purchase, New York, is complete. The finals kick off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Let’s hear what’s motivating contestants to go the distance.

Daniel Liang, a finalist in the junior male division, told NTD: “I’m not here for the competition or anything, or the rewards, I just want to improve and see how others do on stage. Maybe I can learn something good about them.”

David Xiao from the male adult division has participated in the competition several times.

“I feel like this year, the overall level is, as usual, a lot higher than the last. So just watching other people inspires me to keep pushing the level higher,” he said of watching his fellow contestants.

Mr. D.F., the artistic director of Shen Yun Performing Arts, has reintroduced a long lost technique of the art form. It’s called “shen dai shou” (the body leads the hands) and “kua dai tui” (the hips lead the legs). What is this technique?

Grace Rubacek, a finalist in the junior female division, told NTD: “Basically, whenever you move your arms, you start from the middle of your body, instead of just starting from [the shoulders], which makes it look very short. But if you start from the middle, and then your whole body is moving and it looks like your arm is this much longer. And when you use your whole body to complete movements, it’s more powerful and can reach the audience. It’s a lot bigger.”

The purpose of the NTD Classical Chinese Dance competition is to promote authentic dance that embodies pure beauty and pure goodness. How do performers bring these values out on stage?

Steven Tao, a finalist in the junior male division, said, “When a person is clean and pure, what they dance would also be clear and pure. So they would be spreading a pure message to the audience.”

Discover pure beauty in the final round of the NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. You can tune in to or get tickets at

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