Passion – the catalyst of our lives
I believe in passion. Passion gives our lives meaning. Passion provides us joy. Passion drives us to explore our potential.
My passion is dance. I have loved dance since I was little. I consider dance to be the most beautiful art form. Whenever I step into a dance studio, the music and movement transform me like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. My soul fills with the joy of dancing.
In 1992, I came to Honolulu from Beijing to pursue a PhD in hydrogeology. During my struggle with English, mathematical modeling, and research, I found a Chinese dance group called the Phoenix Dance Chamber. This discovery totally changed my life. In my spare time I started to learn and perform Chinese classical, modern, and ethnic folk dances. I loved every moment on stage. I felt carried by the spirit of a phoenix to convey the beauty of Chinese dance to American audiences.
In Chinese we say: “One minute of dance on stage comes from 10 years of diligent practice.” Dance practice is not easy. It involves repetition, physical pain, and the frustration that comes from failure to execute a difficult movement. However, the rewards compensate far more than the sweat and tears we shed. One time, after a performance for a cultural festival on Maui, an elderly woman approached me. She said, “You must really love dance. I can feel that when I watched you dancing. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing the beautiful Chinese dance with us.” I was thrilled by her comment. This is why I love dancing so much, not just the movement, not just the music; it is the communication between the audience and performers through the dance. Dance is a beautiful language without sound; through our dances we exhibit the beauty of our lives and culture to the world.
After I retired from the performing group eight years ago, I started to teach dance classes for young girls. It is the most rewarding process that I have ever experienced. I am passing my passion and love for dance to my students just as a farmer plants seeds in the ground. I watch them grow, mature, and become fine artists. I can feel the passion in their dances just as the woman who saw me on Maui so many years ago. I smile and cry tears of joy and pride when I watch my students on stage.
One day, I will be too old to dance, but my passion for dance will always be strong. Although my body may not be able to execute the movements, my heart will continue to dance until it stops. My passion will never die, and my students will carry my passion forward, that is what I believe.
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