Artist Spotlight: Henry Hung
Since 2016, principal dancer Henry Hung has enlivened stages worldwide with his powerful style. Known for his tireless vitality, Hung exhibits the robust energy of masculine grace, particularly reveling in vigorous styles such as Tibetan or Mongolian ethnic dance. He won first place in the junior division of New Tang Dynasty Television’s 2018 International Classical Chinese Dance Competition, and second place in the adult division of the same competition in 2021.
Growing up in Taiwan, Hung had a strong interest in martial arts, earning a black belt in Taekwondo. He then studied dance at Taiwan’s Niao Song School of the Arts before relocating to New York to study classical Chinese dance at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts.
In this installment of our Artist Spotlight series, Hung shares with us his views on artistry, a glimpse into his personal preferences, and tips for staying in top physical condition.
“As long as I persist, have the courage to acknowledge my shortcomings, and maintain my strengths, I find I can always keep growing as an artist. Every critique creates an opportunity for improvement. The greater the challenge, the greater the progress. ”
14 Questions with Henry
What made you want to join Shen Yun?
I joined because of my love for classical Chinese dance!
What do you like most about performing on stage?
What I enjoy most about being on stage is the opportunity to interpret different characters, which allows me to experience their joys and sorrows, and bring them to life along with the music, digital backdrops, costumes, and staging.
What is the favorite role or character you’ve played on stage? Why?
I really like Mongolian or Tibetan dances because they are brimming with vitality and energy. I always feel refreshed afterwards.
What do you like most about being in Shen Yun?
In Shen Yun, there’s a strong sense of camaraderie, where everyone cares about each other and helps one another.
How do you stay motivated?
I know that I still have a lot to improve on. There’s a Chinese saying, “Learning is like rowing a boat upstream: if you stop moving forward, you will fall back.” This keeps me motivated.
Have you ever encountered difficulties during your dance career?
I find it relatively easy to master technical skills and tumbling moves. However, learning Shen Yun’s shen-fa (form), particularly the technique of “shen-dai-shou” (the body leads the arms), requires much more effort.
What’s your favorite city to visit on tour?
I really like the cities in Europe. The old architecture and castles there are truly magnificent and grand.
What do you do to relax after a show?
I like to drink tea and chat with my friends.
Do you have any self-care tips for staying in top physical condition?
Rest is essential. To get your body in its optimal condition, you must have adequate sleep. Then you’ll be able to practice with full energy.
Throughout the 100-plus performances every season, how do you maintain freshness and a high artistic standard?
I remind myself that every performance is an opportunity for improvement and that there is always room for progress. So every performance is a new experience for me, allowing me to continuously hone my dance skills, even after over 100 shows.
How are you different now from when you first joined Shen Yun?
Through these years in Shen Yun, I’ve become more responsible and capable of taking ownership. Most importantly, my time here has taught me to approach everything in life with gratitude and humility.
Where is the most unusual place you have ever practiced dance?
A parking lot, where I did a whole dance class wearing regular shoes.
How did you come to be where you are today?
The biggest realization I’ve had about dance in these past few years is that as long as I persist, have the courage to acknowledge my shortcomings, and maintain my strengths, I find I can always keep growing as an artist. Every critique creates an opportunity for improvement. The greater the challenge, the greater the progress, as these motivate me to strive to do better.
How do you define success in life?
To me, temporary success is not real success. It’s just a passing glory. True success is achieved by those who persevere in their chosen career.
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