With Shen Yun Since: 2007
Golden Li won first place in New Tang Dynasty Television’s 2010 International Classical Chinese Dance Competition, and first place in the same competition in 2009. He studied classical Chinese dance in New York at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts and Fei Tian College.
Chinese given name: Bojian (李博健).
Meaning of Chinese given name: Bó means extensive or plentiful. Jiàn means healthy and strong.
Lived in: Urumqi in Xinjiang, China; Vancouver and Windsor in Canada; and West Bloomfield in Michigan, USA.
First heard of Shen Yun: 2006.
Love most about dancing: How liberating it is—for that one small moment you get to share something so personal and so powerful with others.
Which Shen Yun dance piece never fails to move you? A Steadfast Heart (2016). The first time I watched it during rehearsals I teared up. There’s just a lot of depth to this piece and it really tugs at my heartstrings every time I get to watch it.
Favorite aspect of classical Chinese dance? How many different things you can express with it; it’s very versatile.
Most memorable interaction with someone who saw the show: A few years ago we went to a VIP reception after the show. One of the guests was the mother of the Portuguese ambassador. She came up to us and gave us all huge hugs and told us how wonderful the show was. I spent about thirty minutes chatting with her. What stood out to me the most was how her eyes glistened when she talked about the show—how happy she was. She insisted that we go perform in Portugal, and I hope we get a chance to soon.
What do you find most meaningful about dancing with Shen Yun? Our message. I believe everyone can use more positivity and hope in their lives.
Open on my playlist right now: “Nessun Dorma” sung by Pavarotti. (The version from the movie Yes, Giorgio is my personal favorite. That last Vincerò!!!)
Warm-up method: Stretching (legs, back, feet—in that order), some kicking, then on to jumps and flips.
Pre-show energy food: Chocolate.
Post-show wind-down: Something to stave off the munchies, and relaxing with the guys.
What do you do between shows on two-show days? Meditate and then a nap if I’m tired; more practice if I’m feeling frisky.
Comfort food: Phở (Vietnamese noodle soup).
Favorite Chinese historical figures: Yue Fei, Wen Tianxiang, and Xiang Yu. I like the first two because despite failing at their objectives—restoring the Northern Song Dynasty and trying to stop the annihilation of the Southern Song Dynasty, respectively—they perfectly embodied the values of Chinese culture with how they conducted themselves throughout their lives. I also find Xiang Yu’s tragic tale mesmerizing, and I performed a dance about his story in a competition a few years ago.
Wanted to be as a kid: I wanted to be an astronaut in kindergarten, a scientist in grade school, and then eventually a firefighter. I think I really just wanted to make a difference, and in Shen Yun I ended up getting what I wanted in a huge way.