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Dance Department

Fei Tian – Middletown campus offers two dance programs.

The Classical Ballet Program

Developed during the Renaissance, Ballet sprouted from Italian roots and gradually became the premier classical dance form of the Western world, with many countries such as France and Russia eventually developing their own styles of Ballet. Originating from the royal courts, ballet gradually spread to the masses, but retained its regal characteristics of elegance, precision, and sophistication. All of this is demonstrated through the clean bodily lines, technical precision, and precise footwork commonly exhibited by well trained ballet dancers around the world.

The well known sophisticated grace, elegance, and propriety of ballet are qualities that Fei Tian would like to instill within our own students. Ballet’s technical precision also outline an attentiveness to details that not only produce artistic beauty, but can also be applied to all areas of work and daily life.

In its early stages as a court dance, ballet was mostly performed by noblemen and aristocrats. The pieces performed were elaborate and lengthy, mostly of royal themes, and featured extravagant costumes and props. The art form spread to France when the Italian aristocrat, Catherine de’ Medici, ascended the throne as Queen of France. French court ballet then reached its height during the reign of Louix XIV, who would later establish the Académie Royale de Danse, or Royal Dance Academy, to train professional ballet dancers, marking the transition of ballet being performed by royalty to being performed by professional dancers. As ballet gradually spread from the courts to the masses, the common people would also be able to enjoy an art form of royal origins.

With its grand lineage, ballet would eventually become a mainstay and highly acclaimed art form throughout Europe, while gradually establishing itself as a widely recognized and appreciated dance form throughout the world.

Through our systematic ballet training, Fei Tian would like to not only enhance our students’ physical beauty and artistic grace, but also impart them with the noble qualities and regal bearing of the Western world’s hallmark classical dance form.

The Classical Chinese Dance Program

Classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world. Through systematic training in dance fundamentals, flexibility, techniques, skills, and the unique element of shen yun, or bearing, students gradually master an exciting classical art form that is dynamic in both its expressiveness and methods of presentation. Yet, the true beauty of Classical Chinese dance does not stop at the surface level, as it has inherited the cultural depth of China’s rich cultural history.

At Fei Tian, through our Classical Chinese Dance course offerings, we wish to present the artistic qualities and deep inner meaning of this art form to our students so that they can develop beauty of both body and soul.

Much like ballet, classical Chinese dance has a unique dance heritage. In its early stages, it was mainly passed down through the imperial court. Over the course of 5,000 years of Chinese history, dancers reorganized, refined, experimented with, and honed the art form to arrive at the extraordinary system of classical Chinese dance that has been handed down to us today. It is part of China’s divinely inspired classical culture, and one means by which the culture continues to live.

Classical Chinese dance involves a complete set of training methods for foundational skills, including bearing, form, and demanding aerial techniques. All of these add up to an enormously rich dance system. The aerial techniques of classical Chinese dance involve high-flying leaps, spins, and tumbling skills. An enormous degree of physical and technical training is required to master this art form.

Central to classical Chinese dance is its expressive capacity, something best seen in its ability to narrate a tale or event. Ancient legends and heroic figures come to life on stage through leaps, spins, and delicate gestures. Behind almost every movement is a deeper cultural connection. These deeper resonances of traditional Chinese culture give the dancer’s movements a unique, expressive power.

The art form, in a word, runs deep. Like ballet in the West, classical Chinese dance offers a unique window into the culture of its people. It is a vehicle for important values, stories, and ideals. It has served a tremendously important role in shaping Chinese aesthetics and taste for literally millennia.

Since 1949, when China saw the communist party take power, traditional Chinese culture has faced a range of challenges. Various political campaigns during the Mao era saw the art of Chinese dance re-engineered in service of a political agenda (or “revolution”). In short, the art of Chinese dance was inevitably reconfigured and continues to be today, having lost its earlier moorings.

At Fei Tian, we believe that an art form thousands of years old and as culturally significant as classical Chinese dance deserves to be preserved in all its integrity and carried forward.