Fusion dance wins over TV show judges
Updated: 2014-07-24 03:50
By Li Ang in New York (China Daily USA)
Performing a fusion of ballet and a Chinese fan dance, the Ballet Jasmine Group, a primarily Chinese-American dance troupe from Atlanta, has made it to the finals of the US television program America's Got Talent (AGT).
The group will conduct a live performance next week at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York on the program, competing against 46 other acts.
Ballet Jasmine made their second appearance on Wednesday night on AGT's Judgment Week competition. They managed to win over all four judges since their first audition. Noted radio personality Howard Stern commented on the performance: "The choreography was absolutely brilliant. I'm very proud of you and you should be proud of yourselves because you just killed it."
The Ballet Jasmine Group is from the Atlanta Professional Dancing Academy and has 25 dancers, ranging from 15 to 18 years old. Twenty four members are of Chinese descent while one has a Korean background. Previously the group won third place in the Youth American Grand Prix 2014 in Atlanta and was a gold medalist in the 2013 World Ballet Competition USA.
Different from their previous performance of Jasmine Flower, the group did a vigorous fan dance for the Judgment Week episode. Though the fans were kept as the main props, Chinese martial arts were also applied.
Jenny Zhang, a 15-year-old dancer who has been with the dance academy for five years, was emotional about making it to the finals. "All of us were crying a river. It's really unbelievable because there were thousands of auditions to begin with, down to hundreds, and then being included is a huge deal for us," she said.
"I really enjoy doing Chinese dance, it helped me reach back to my culture and history," said Zhang about their interpretation of the fusion fan dance.
"There was drama happening during the Judgment Week which made me think we weren't able to continue competing for AGT's live finals so when we heard yes from judges, me and our girls were all crying and I actually haven't cried in years," said Wei Dongsheng, the coach of Ballet Jasmine.
Jessica Ma, captain of the dancing group, said the performance is a perfect depiction of "who we are". "We're Chinese but for most of us, we're born and we grow up here in America so by combining Western ballet and oriental dance style, it expresses our identity," noted Ma.
She said that the judges like Chinese-style dance and the team's dance is not just Chinese dance, but a fusion of ballet and a Chinese fan dance.
For the finale next week, the team will do something that's totally different, according to coach Wei.
"For next week, I want to still stick to our icon, the fan dancing, but we'll do something that's totally different. We'll offer a whole package of performance to judges and American audience and wow them," Wei said.