Fa Lecture to Teach Classical Chinese Dance at Fei Tian College

Li Hongzhi

(July 27, 2019)

What is classical Chinese dance? Speaking of the fundamentals, the “movements and poses” (shen-fa) of classical Chinese dance, from ancient times, originated mostly from martial arts’ technique of “one wu[1], two uses” imparted by the divine. Whereas the “feel” (shen-yun) mostly came from the movements in traditional Chinese opera. In the early days, “classical Chinese dance” was called “operatic dance.”

Why do some people claim that classical Chinese dance is a new dance genre created by Beijing Dance Academy? The shen-fa of the dances from Beijing Dance Academy also came from martial arts and traditional Chinese opera. In order to meet the requirements of academic teaching, they cross-referenced some of ballet’s beginning-level training methods, for the purpose of making it look more like a dance of modern concepts. “Tumbling techniques” (tan-zi-gong), all the more so, originated from various traditional folk art forms throughout thousands of years of Chinese civilization. Frankly speaking, Beijing Dance Academy did not create classical Chinese dance. Beijing Dance Academy created the term “classical Chinese dance” and changed the original name of “traditional Chinese operatic dance” into “classical Chinese dance.”

Even the Dance Academy itself admits that its shen-yun was adopted from the movements in traditional Chinese opera and the elements of shen-fa in dances mostly came from the shen-fa in traditional Chinese operatic dance and martial arts. Actually, traditional Chinese opera [people] also have acknowledged that their shen-fa came from martial arts. In remote, ancient times, traditional Chinese opera had already been using the shen-fa of traditional Chinese martial arts. That is to say, classical Chinese dance had long existed and was not invented by Beijing Dance Academy.

So why does Beijing Dance Academy claim that classical Chinese dance is a new dance genre it created? Other than changing the name from “operatic dance” to “classical Chinese dance,” it developed a set of teaching methods for classical Chinese dance. The term “classical Chinese dance” was coined by it. In the early days, Beijing Dance Academy too called classical Chinese dance “operatic dance” and combined it with the teaching method of ballet. It’s not just limited to these, as Beijing Dance Academy also adopted the method of teaching classical Chinese dance in an academic setting. In the old days, those who learned arts in China all adopted the traditional teaching method: old masters in theatrical troupes teaching apprentices. Some taught many students simultaneously, even dozens of them in one troupe. However, as far as classical Chinese dance entering and being taught at art institutions is concerned, it perhaps first started with Beijing Dance Academy. Their young students from later generations are not aware of this, and due to the intentional sabotage of Chinese history by the evil CCP, the students don’t know about Chinese history and claim that “classical Chinese dance” is a new dance genre they created. This in itself shows a lack of respect for history and thousands of years of traditional Chinese culture.

Actually when Beijing Dance Academy was founded, China’s various provinces and various performing arts groups were already using this type of Chinese dance method in their teaching and performances. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, the Central Southern Art Theater, which Fei Tian College’s Principal Guo was at, was using this type of dance in their performances. Beijing Dance Academy wasn’t even established at that time! In other words, right around the time when Beijing Dance Academy was established, many performing arts groups in China were using this classical Chinese style of operatic dance in performances.

You know that in teaching classical dance, the names of the techniques, requirements, and the names of the shen-fa and shen-yun that Beijing Dance Academy used were all directly copied from traditional Chinese opera and they were exactly the same. Such as chong and kao[2]; han and tian[3]; ning, qing, yuan, qu[4]; the three circular movement paths of ping-yuan, li-yuan, and ba-zi-yuan[5]; shou, yan, shen, fa, bu[6]; and many, many things such as liang-xiang[7], jing, qi, shen[8] and so on and so forth. All dance essentials, such as “to go right first go left,” “to go up first go down,” “to go back first go forward,” and “to go forward first go back” were all copied from traditional Chinese opera and are exactly the same. In other words, these things were not created by the Academy but already existed in classical dance in China. Ever since Beijing Dance Academy changed the name “operatic dance” in China to “classical Chinese dance,” all performing arts groups in various Chinese provinces, from the regional ones to military ones, from amateur to professional (with career performers), as well as various academic institutes, called this type of dance “classical Chinese dance,” except traditional Chinese opera schools and opera houses.

This brings us to Shen Yun and Fei Tian College. Didn’t Shen Yun and Fei Tian adopt classical Chinese dance? The fact is Shen Yun and Fei Tian College adopted the “style or rhythm” (yun-lü) used in the teaching methods of classical dance by Beijing Dance Academy. In teaching the shen-fa, Beijing Dance Academy standardized a fixed yun-lü but the elements had long existed. Shen Yun merely adopted the yun-lü in its teaching method. Do you understand what I mean? (People nod) Shen Yun and Fei Tian College merely used Beijing Dance Academy’s yun-lü.

This is because classical Chinese dance currently is different from province to province in China. Even the few colleges in Beijing do not use the yun-lü from Beijing Dance Academy, and some even openly disapprove of it. No performing arts group in China adopted the dance training or performances from Beijing Dance Academy because they all believe that theirs is the best classical Chinese dance. The bizarre thing is that even Beijing Dance Academy’s junior dance troupe has completely messed up its own classical Chinese dance and mixed the so-called Chinese-style modern dance into it. This really makes the biggest mockery of Beijing Dance Academy. When you don’t take yourself seriously, how do you expect others to take you seriously? They even took the fake, so-called Han-Tang in teaching classical dance, which are actually nothing but a fox’s movements and are very demonic. I really feel sorry for this highest academic institution of Chinese dance.

In the beginning stage after Fei Tian College was established, we wanted to learn its yun-lü in teaching so we borrowed some of their dance routines to learn. In fact, we could have used the dance yun-lü of Chinese Minzu College, we could have used any regional or provincial dance yun-lü, or directly used the dance yun-lü in traditional Chinese opera. Since at the time the majority of the faculty members of Fei Tian College graduated from Beijing Dance Academy, we naturally used the teachers’ yun-lü. Anyways, this type of yun-lü is correct and meets the requirements of Shen Yun. So we adopted the yun-lü from Beijing Dance Academy in our teaching.

Speaking of yun-lü, from the perspective of cultivation, Chinese culture is imparted by the divine and has been looked after by the divine. So when Beijing Dance Academy was starting to teach classical Chinese dance, high-level beings had known long ago that it was to be used by Shen Yun in the future. Therefore, there must have been divine help behind this dance. It was no trivial matter when Shen Yun wanted to use this dance to save people. Human civilization repeats itself in cycles. Does it conform to the prehistoric culture that Gods established for mankind in the very early stage? Therefore, before Shen Yun could use it, it must have been developed so it could be used by Shen Yun in saving people. From this angle, the founders who established the teaching methods of classical Chinese dance at Beijing Dance Academy have done a great, wonderful thing.

Having grown to this stage today, you see, Fei Tian College and Shen Yun Performing Arts are basically different from Beijing Dance Academy in terms of the requirement of the shen-fa. The teaching aspiration of Shen Yun and Fei Tian College is a completely different concept from that of Beijing Dance Academy. The former wants to take a traditional path and rediscover the highest realm of dance, the essence of a divine culture. Whereas the latter is distorting things that are traditional and classical in their pursuit of being fashionable and trendy while society is in decline. At present, they’ve added Chinese-style modern dance, contemporary dance, and fake Han-Tang into the teaching and performances of classical dance. The so-called Han-Tang dance is actually movements that came about while being taken advantage of by foxes. They won’t like to hear what I just said for sure because their interests and feelings are being affected. But whoever learns that stuff will be possessed by foxes. We cannot do nothing when seeing things that harm people. Such things have brazenly entered mankind’s institutes of higher education. Although it’s lamentable, it’s the product of modern times.

Be it Beijing Dance Academy or Fei Tian and Shen Yun, at present it can be seen that the basic elements of classical Chinese dance are completely identical in dances. It’s just that the requirements for shen-fa are different, the directions they’re heading toward are different, and yun-lü too is changing as the shen-fa has been elongated. In the beginning, Fei Tian College and Shen Yun only adopted their yun-lü, but the yun-lü of Shen Yun today already differs from that of Beijing Dance Academy. In fact, the gap is gradually widening and they’re far apart now.

As you know, Shen Yun has reached the highest standard for dance shen-fa. The techniques for this kind of shen-fa aren’t just sought after by classical Chinese dance itself; various kinds of dances and physical performing arts are all exploring them. These are the dance techniques people have been seeking since ancient times to the present, techniques that are talked about, but that no one knows how to do. It has reached the highest peak of all dances, something known as “the body leads the arms” (shen-dai-shou), and “the hips lead the legs.” (kua-dai-tui) At present, trainings for these techniques elongate the limbs to the point that no dance genre can expect to achieve, and even ballet and rhythmic gymnastics are pondering and looking for these things. They have only heard about them, but no one knows how to teach them and they are clueless. That’s how things are right now, as no one knows how these things are used. But everybody knows about shen-dai-shou, and kua-dai-tui. These too were imparted by Master. At present, teachers and students of Shen Yun, Fei Tian College, and Fei Tian Academy of the Arts are all learning and practicing them. Class ‘07 and Class ‘17 have done the best job. The teaching and training the students received have resulted in Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dance having a different style from that of Beijing Dance Academy. Shen Yun’s dance style is basically its own style, and the yun-lü is its own yun-lü. So in fact, these are already different from those of Beijing Dance Academy. You see, given the same dance routine, a few days ago we watched the video of Beijing Dance Academy’s dance routine, and when you performed that routine with Shen Yun’s shen-fa, it’s completely different. This is to say, in the beginning Shen Yun only made use of their yun-lü, and gradually Shen Yun started its own path. At present, Shen Yun’s yun-lü has become unique because of the way it has been transformed by the elongation methods. You must be clear on this issue.

In fact, classical Chinese dance itself is truly the crystallization of several thousand years of “classical” culture. Even Beijing Dance Academy calls it classical dance, as it has no way of separating itself from the word “classical.” Why is it called classical dance? How could a modern, new dance genre be called classical dance? Isn’t that contradictory? It’s because it created a teaching method that is modern. On the other hand, classical things had existed long ago, and the elements had existed long ago. Isn’t this the idea? (People nod)

I had spoken to you in the past that, as for divinely inspired culture, China is a special place, as its culture manifests while being fully looked after by Gods. All people in the world, no matter what race they are, once lived in China for the duration of one dynasty. They had all incarnated in China for two hundred years before being reborn in other places. And that is how the five thousand years have evolved. So this culture, frankly speaking, has been experienced by all people in the world. So, the world’s people, no matter what nationality they are, will feel déjà vu once they see the traditional programs performed by Shen Yun, especially the cultural manifestation in Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dance performances. They are able to completely understand the universal values humankind has had since ancient times, and the ideas and lifestyles in traditional cultures. It is because, in people’s memories, they once had this culture. Thus, when Shen Yun saves sentient beings, they can understand it and be saved. So, no matter which nationality’s things are used to save people, none would have such a great impact, and people would have difficulties understanding them.

Speaking from another perspective: During the early period of classical Chinese dance when Gods were imparting culture to humankind in prehistoric times, they already knew that people, in the course of passing it down, would distort it. You know that humans talk about development and want to seek new things and be different, to be unique compared to others in their development, or to seek to be better. In fact, all such thoughts are changing that which is traditional. No matter how you change it, it wouldn’t be as good as the original one—one that was imparted by Gods. You feel that, for the moment, it is novel, good, and interesting, but its inner meaning is empty and won’t be upheld or sustained by Gods. That is to say, back when Gods first imparted classical dance, they had taken such issues into consideration and thus didn’t impart classical dance directly in its entirety. A part of it was imparted to the royal court, another part was imparted to common folks, and still another was imparted to traditional Chinese operas. As for the true shen-fa of classical Chinese dance, it has been preserved by martial arts (wu-shu).

You know that wu-shu was something very serious throughout history. In the past, learning wu-shu required combat and killing, as it had to be used on battlefields. If you used it recklessly, you would be killed, so people didn’t dare use it haphazardly. This effectively ensured that those shen-fa remained unchanged. That’s right, for several thousand years, those wu-shu routines and shen-fa have always been passed down in the wu-shu circle. Upon reaching modern times, the evil specter of the CCP came about especially for the purpose of persecuting Chinese people and Chinese traditions. Wu-shu is traditional culture, and so when the specter saw that, it wanted to undermine it as well. Thus, it led people to develop a new wu-shu while completely casting away traditional wu-shu in China. Perhaps those cultivators in deep mountains are still preserving it, and of course the most fundamental part is all kept by them. But the things that are spreading in society have been ruined by the evil CCP and completely replaced by the new wu-shu. In other words, in the past several thousand years, traditional wu-shu has effectively preserved the shen-fa.

Within the grand scope of Chinese culture, arts are mutually congruent and compatible, and they are able to borrow from and influence each other. For instance, many art forms have borrowed from tan-zi-gong, and many art forms have borrowed from the shen-fa used in wu-shu. Isn’t it so? The shen-yun passed down in traditional Chinese opera is an extremely important part too. Because the value of shen-yun is made clear if you want to express the inner, deeper meanings of things. Something as straightforward as ballet doesn’t require the expression of inner, deeper meanings. Classical Chinese dance, however, must consist of the shen-yun aspect, which enables the expression of a person’s inner feelings and things one wishes to present. Just like how Shen Yun’s dance dramas portray characters, it can have such an effect. With it, it’s able to portray characters; with it, it’s able to describe a plot; and with it, Shen Yun is able to develop short dance dramas to save people. From this perspective, the values and significance of divinely bestowed culture can be seen.

Divinely bestowed culture has a characteristic: It needs to take into consideration the balance of yin and yang of humankind, and things are employed both positively and negatively. Wu-shu cannot be solely used just for the sake of wu-shu, as it has to have a dual use (“one wu, two uses”), with the two words having the same pronunciation but written differently. And even “one wu having multiple uses.” When Gods do things, it’s never just for a single purpose, and they never do something just for the sake of one thing. Whenever something appears in this world, it is connected to the relationship of various dimensions. The effect this has in the various dimensions needs to be considered, including what effect it has in higher- and lower-level dimensions, and what effect it has in vertical and horizontal dimensions. Things that appear must be positive in the various dimensions and work well with others—only then could something be established in this world. Otherwise, that thing of yours won’t be established, recognized, or passed down. It has to be recognized by Gods. So, when Gods impart something, they aren’t just imparting one thing without considering anything else. Gods must smooth out the relations within a huge scope of beings. So, is this something easy? It’s not an easy thing.

Sometimes, the arguments taking place within the arts circle are rather interesting. The traditional Chinese opera people say: “What classical dance did your Beijing Dance Academy establish? Those things belong to our traditional operas.” It does belong to them, especially shen-yun, which is entirely theirs. Those who practice wu-shu then say: “The dance in your traditional Chinese operas all comes from our wu-shu.” That’s right, almost all of it comes from wu-shu, and even things from its shen-yun were developed from the shen-fa of wu-shu. It’s all like that. So, the result of tracing back to the root leads the discussion to wu-shu. Why did I talk about “one wu, two uses” in the beginning? If we trace the root and get to the bottom of it, eventually it’s about “one wu, two uses.” Used in the civilian or artistic sense, it’s dance (wu); and used in the martial or military sense (wu), it is for fighting battles. One civilian or artistic use, and one martial or military use; one positive, and one negative. Speaking of culture, this is what human culture is like. When something is imparted, it has to have two sides in the human world. It wouldn’t do if you impart only the benevolent side, as the things on the vile side must also be imparted. When you impart vile things, it wouldn’t do either, as you must also have benevolent things, because things in the human world must reach a balance between good and bad, and between yin and yang. This is how this thing comes about, and this is what human culture is.

So why then does everyone from heaven to earth oppose the evil CCP? Because Gods don’t recognize it, as it is not benevolent, nor is it vile in a way allowed by Gods. It is deviated, something truly evil and loathsome. It doesn’t have a place in the universe. It appeared only during the final, end times when people’s karma became massive. No matter how wicked or how aggressive it appears to be, it’s useless. Gods use it to eliminate karma for those who have a lot of karma, and when that’s done it will be destroyed. But the high-level Fa principles that Gods impart among humans for saving people are different, as those are not constrained by the principles of the human level.

After all, what Master said is very concise, but what I said is very accurate, and that’s how these things come about. Do you all understand? (People nod)

(All school staff and dance students say in unison: Thank you, Master!)

(Translation by Team Blue, subject to further improvement. Date of this version: September 2, 2019.)

[1] Wu: The pronunciation in Chinese for both “martial arts” and “dance” is the same.

[2] Chong and kao: The upper body leaning diagonally forward (chong) and diagonally backward (kao)

[3] Han and tian: Drawing the chest in (han) and pushing it out (tian)

[4] Ning, qing, yuan, qu: twisting, leaning, circular, and curved

[5] Circle on the horizontal plane (ping-yuan), circle on the vertical plane (li-yuan), and figure-eight circle (ba-zi-yuan)

[6] Arm movements (shou), eye expression (yan), poses and form (shen), methods (fa), and footwork (bu)

[7] Liang-xiang: striking a pose

[8] Spirit (jing), energy (qi), and soul (shen)