Chinese people often think that life in the US is a boring one. Yet for those of us in the Chinese folk dance community, life is anything but boring. Ever since I joined Yao Yong Dance School, I've discovered a new sense of hope and joy. No matter how busy or stressed out I am when I walk into class, just one hour of Chinese folk dancing helps bring my day to a happy end.
When I was young and saw Chinese folk dancers for the first time, their grace and beauty captivated me and filled me with a deep sense of admiration. I felt I had never seen anything as exquisite as those dancers, and that this must be the pinnacle of beauty. I never dreamed that one day I would come to America and study under one of the most renowned teachers in Chinese folk dance. I am deeply thankful for having dance in my life. I am never too bored or sad, because of the immense joy that dance has brought me.
Through the years dance has enriched my life in many ways. I've not only improved my physical fitness and learned many dance techniques, I've also adopted my dance teacher's resilient, positive attitude and self-discipline.
Our class makes up for our lack of professional training with dedication and passion, and our teachers at Yao Yong have matched us in spirit and drive. They have always held us to the highest standards, and as a result of everyone's hard work, our class has seen improvement everyday. This is most evident at the bi-annual recital, where we always feel how far we've come both in technique and stage presence. Everyday I am thankful to my teachers for all their dedication and hard work, and to my wonderful classmates for all their support and cooperation.
Yao Yong Dance School was started by Yao and his wife to promote Chinese folk dance in the US. Both were trained at Beijing Dance Academy, China's most prestigious dance school. Over the past twenty years, Yao Yong Dance School has trained numerous dance students. For us Chinese folk dance devotees, this has been our gift.
In addition, Yao Yong and his wife have done much for Chinese folk dance outreach overseas. In the last few years, Yao Yong Dance School has participated in several international dance competitions and won numerous awards.
In 2016 out of 200 teams, our team was selected to represent the US at the Chinese Culture Abroad dance competition in Shenzhen, China. We placed second overall for our Mongolian piece called "Red Geese". I am so proud to have been a part of this group and discovered an even deeper love for my team and the art of dance. Teacher Yong even brought us to the dance school in Shenzhen for a private workshop, allowing me to see how professional Chinese folk dancers approach their art. Our memorable trip to Shenzhen has deepened my appreciation for Chinese folk dance.
This year at the fourth world dance competition 2017 in the US West category, Yao Yong's "Dreaming in Peach Blossom Spring" placed second overall out of 57 teams in the Group Dance category, first place in the Forever Young Star group, and outstanding award for original dance choreography to Teacher Yao Yong.
I hope to continue my dance journey with Yao Yong Dance School for many years to come.