5 Things That Keep Us Going
Every season, each Shen Yun company completes 100-plus shows. Within this are double-show days, back-to-back double-show days, same day setup-strikeouts, ten-show weeks, epic cross-country and intercontinental travel days, plus our daily dance training. Truth be told, life on tour can be rather demanding.
Don't get me wrong, performing with Shen Yun gives just about the most gratifying takeaways and experiences—the opportunity to see the globe and perform for the world's audiences is invaluable. Still, sometimes it’s two hours before the curtain opens and I find myself in snooze mode. But the show must go on!
At some point everyone comes upon bumps or potholes in the road. So when facing difficulties, how do we do it? What keeps us calm and carrying on? Here are a few things we use to motivate us when the going gets tough.
1. Be Positive
Many theater staff, local presenters, and really anyone who sees us backstage will tell you that we're a cheerful group. They probably have an impression of us working together, smiling, and taking on life's encounters with cheer.
As dancers, we are taught to always find the light in the darkness. That applies to running toward an off-stage flashlight during scene-change blackouts, but more importantly, it means being grateful for everything we have, and taking full advantage of what's available. That goes for every aspect of life. Touring internationally, so many things can happen without warning—inclement weather, transportation issues, sudden schedule changes, injuries, you name it. But with the show at stake, there's really no use fretting over misfortune. You have to just do the best you can no matter what, and better yet, without grudge. This kind of mindset has prepared us to take on anything that comes our way, because you never know what life is going to throw at you.
For me, many things have changed since I moved from SoCal to New York ten years ago. But laughter has stayed with me throughout, and memories of the good times never fade. With dance as our calling, there are more than enough little blunders to giggle over. Be it laughing at our own slips and falls during training, not-yet-graceful efforts to coordinate new movements, or all-out attempts at more difficult techniques, these small bits of levity add sparkle to our daily grind. And it’s a win-win situation, because laughing burns away calories!
3. Sense of Duty
In a bit over a decade, Shen Yun has evolved from one debuting company to six companies that receive accolades from top venues around the world. I think that behind Shen Yun’s success is our purpose. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the 5,000-year-old Chinese culture, because what remains in China today is just a skin-deep remnant of an incredibly rich heritage. Shen Yun is dedicated to presenting to audiences everywhere the true traditional culture of ancient China—a culture that is said to have been inspired by the divine. And each artist’s passion for this cause is what has brought us together from all corners of the globe.
Day after day, year after year, everyone at Shen Yun has been through so much together that I feel like we’re all members of one big family. This is especially true of my fellow dancers; many are like sisters to me. When you have a strong sense of community and togetherness, you know that you must do well and persevere not just for yourself but also for the good of the group. On the other hand it’s also a great support. An entire crew has my back, so I know that I can brave any storm.
5. Moral Fiber
Shen Yun is more than an entertaining performance. Along with being dedicated to reviving traditional Chinese culture, we also revive upright traditional values. The artists of Shen Yun, as cultivators of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa, try to live according to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. These principles can help us, in any situation, to evaluate our thoughts and actions. Many audience members have attested to feeling a sort of positive energy radiating from our performance. I guess when you glow on the inside, you will glow on the outside, too.
In the upcoming year, if ever you’re feeling a bit down, look to the light. Think positively and let yourself have a good laugh. Remember your responsibilities and your principles. And treasure those around you, your family and friends.
Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all the best for 2019.
December 27, 2018