Sophie Shao had seen Shen Yun Performing Arts as a young girl and set her sights on classical Chinese dance.
“I wanted to stand on the same stage as them,” said Sophie, who joined the NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition for the first time this year.
Now in its 10th run, the competition is one in a series of events NTD hosts to promote traditional culture. This year, 140 dancers from three continent came to Purchase, New York, to participate in the preliminary rounds from Sept. 7 to Sept. 8.
On Sept. 10, Sophie will perform in the final round, which will be livestreamed on Epoch TV.
“I did get nervous but you have to still yourself. The work you’ve put in day to day is what will speak for itself on stage,” she said.
Sophie performed “Whispers of Spring Rain” for the competition, and sought to give audiences a feeling of freshness and celebrating life.
Classical Chinese dance is an comprehensive dance form that goes back thousands of years, and one of its unique requirements is that dancers must use their inner feelings to drive the body into movement.
Sophie sought to portray a young lady from an ancient period living in a river town, capturing her agility and purity.
“I hope I can bring something pure and refreshing to the audience,” she said.
The difficulty in the piece is in the details, she shared, explaining that she’s spent many hours practicing in front of the mirror and getting advice from more experienced dancers.
“A lot of the small movements, like looking here and there, I needed to be able to do them in a way that immediately sends the look across the theater,” she said, demonstrating the gesture.
“Joining this competition, I wanted to share traditional Chinese culture and the beauty of classical Chinese dance,” she said. “I want to share pure beauty, pure kindness, and authenticity.”
“The event has also helped me deepen my understanding of dance and improve myself,” she said.
Sophie said she has learnt a lot from her fellow contestants, including from those younger than her.
“Their art is so pure and positive, and it’s completely from the heart,” she said.
From The Epoch Times