The audiences of the 2005 NTDTV Global Chinese New Year’s Gala were delighted by performances of “Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea,” a large-scale work that combined dance and opera. The unique personalities of the eight immortals were vividly portrayed in the opera. With grace and charm, Vina Li performed the role of the Immortal He.
Vina Li was a member of the preparation committee, and was the choreographer and a dancer for the 2006 NTDTV Gala. She is assuming the same roles for the 2007 event, renamed the Chinese New Year Spectacular.
Vina was born with a love for dancing. At age 12, she was selected to enter a professional dance company. In 1984, she was admitted to Beijing Ballet Institute for advanced training. She moved to Australia one year after her graduation.
The Epoch Times recently interviewed the beloved dancer. Excerpts of the conversation follow:
Epoch Times: Can you please tell us your understanding about the dance programs in NTDTV Gala?
Vina: Many audiences have found everything on our stage to be totally new and refreshing. This is probably because they are unfamiliar with our programs, and such unfamiliarity is due to the fact that there is nothing to compare them with. People nowadays are so stressed that even subjects in different art forms seem to be panicking and struggling. In contrast, what we are showing is refreshing and uplifting. You feel comfortable when you watch our shows.
ET: Are there any improvements from the 2006 Gala?
Vina: We spent more effort in collective dance programs, and audiences will notice a big improvement. As a matter of fact, it is important that we always bring up new things in costume, staging, color, music, choreography and performers.
ET: Having a unique personality is usually stressed with artists. Do you have any difficulty in working with other people in performing the group dances?
Vina: If you are humble with other people, then it is easy. Each person has his own knowledge, understanding and perspective, and the ways of expression are also different. I truly feel that everyone’s ideas are important, and if I give them a chance, other people’s ideas may be better than mine.
The arts are usually about self-expression. On the contrary, we are not expressing ourselves in the NTDTV’s Gala, but presenting the essence of the Chinese culture to our audiences.
ET: Are there differences between contemporary performances in Mainland China and NTDTV’s programs?
Vina: There are many good performers in Mainland China. As individuals, they have a high level of artistic skill. But you may notice that when you go to a show, or to appreciate artwork, what really moves you or touches the depths of your soul is not totally the format or the ways of expression, as skills and tools are not everything. In fact, especially between performers and audiences, the spiritual communication is the real reason why audiences are moved. Some people feel very depressed after watching one show, but very happy after watching another show. This is the spiritual communication.
Every artist, performer, and creative staff of NTDTV’s Spectacular devotes themselves to the effort and wants to bring joy to the audience. If you do this just for money and fame, or just want to finish something, or if you are forced to perform, your performance would be very different from the one that is from the pure heart or when you really want to do it.
ET: Many in the audiences said they were greatly moved after watching the shows. Some performers believe that to move others you have to move yourself first. Does your heart get moved when performing?
Vina: Let me give you an example. Last year, I was a dancer for “Plum Blossom.” I hadn’t performed on stage for about 10 years and there was not enough practice time before the show. Besides, I assumed many roles of a dancer, choreographer, and some managerial tasks, so I was very tired and stressed.
I remember that when we had a full rehearsal before the official opening, I almost fainted and felt weak when it was time for the dance program “Plum Blossom.” When I heard the music of the program, the tenacious and unyielding image of the Falun Gong practitioners under brutal persecution in Mainland China suddenly came to my mind. The image of the plum blossom standing in the snow and ice storm personify the most tenacious human character in adverse circumstances. When I was too tired to stand up, I felt a strong force which suddenly supported my backbone, and helped me stand there firmly. Such a good state cannot be described with human language. I was greatly shocked. I didn’t feel I was dancing, or showing something to someone. In fact, I felt I myself was the beneficiary.
As a matter of fact, the arts have given me a lot, and it is not me to present myself or how I would get the audience moved. In fact, the audience and I are all beneficiaries.