Hao Ruoqi, a member of the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater, is a well-known female dancer of the post-90s generation in China. She has gained popularity for her performances in various dance dramas, including her portrayal of the valiant and heroic warrior, Hua Mulan, and the laid-back concubine, Yang, in the dance drama, “Du Fu.”
In 2017, Hao Ruoqi starred in the lead role of the historical dance drama named after the legendary female Chinese warrior Hua Mulan. She shared her thoughts about her experience playing the iconic role and how it affected her personally.
According to Hao, the spirit of Mulan exists in everyone’s mind, and the image of this legendary heroine has been widely circulated, conveying the power of women. Hao feels fortunate to have been able to spread the energy of Mulan through dance. She believes that Mulan was not only a strong person, but also a woman who was capable of great love, wisdom, and the ability to embrace everything. Hao may share similar sentiments about life in the military, as she has experience in that field.
Hao admitted that the initial rehearsals for “Mulan” did not go very smoothly. However, she pushed her limits when approaching the character. She described taking the role as a learning experience and a great challenge.
“During rehearsals, I cried every night when I returned to the hotel, just to release the pressure. At that time, I thought to myself that never again in my life would I want to dance after ‘Mulan,'” she said.
Hao faced a lot of pressure while preparing for the role, but she grew up during that period. She thought that even if her appearance was up to scratch, she still needed to portray every aspect of Mulan’s character very carefully to resonate with the audience. This required a lot of effort and attention to detail.
The action scenes were especially difficult for Hao. The production team hired professional martial arts instructors to teach her Chinese boxing routines. She had one fight scene with her partner, who played the character of a general, which lasted almost five minutes. This was particularly exhausting because the fight scene was carefully choreographed with fighting moves, and it was tough to integrate the dancing with martial arts. They tried to present the authentic charm of Chinese martial arts using swords and spears.
Hao Ruoqi’s performance as Hua Mulan in the historical dance drama was well-received by audiences. Her portrayal of the iconic character showcased the strength, courage, and determination that Mulan embodies. It was clear that Hao had poured her heart and soul into this role, and the hard work and dedication paid off.
Through her performance, Hao Ruoqi has shown that she is a versatile and talented dancer who can take on any role with confidence and grace. Her portrayal of Mulan has left a lasting impression on audiences and has helped to keep the legend of Hua Mulan alive for generations to come.
Dancing is a graceful and beautiful art, while martial arts prioritize speed and core strength. As female dancers tend to be physically weaker than their male counterparts, they often struggle to deliver fast and accurate punches while maintaining their elegant dance moves. Hao also faced difficulties in integrating martial arts with dancing, which resulted in bruises all over her body.
The production of Mulan won the prestigious China Lotus Award and has received acclaim from audiences across the nation. It has been performed on stage almost 100 times. Hao said the stage design was cutting-edge and incorporated modern devices like revolving platforms. The story also intertwined several plots from different time periods and localities.
The use of revolving platforms made the audience feel like they were in a film, providing an immersive experience. The feedback from audiences abroad has been enthusiastic, particularly at an arts festival in Mexico. Hao believes that the story of Mulan is very international, and the character has become a household name, thanks to the Disney film. Foreign audience members stayed behind after the shows in China to get autographs and express how much they related to the character of Mulan.
Despite some concerns from other cast members due to her physical injuries, Hao persevered and put on her best show. She recalled being quite scared due to her old injuries, and that she was afraid she wouldn’t even make it onto the stage. She felt a lot of pressure to perform well, and most of the dancers, including herself, worked tirelessly for a long time just to put on a perfect show – even if just for a few minutes.
Hao also spoke about the spirit of Mulan, which exists in everyone’s mind, conveying the power of women. The image of the legendary heroine has been widely circulated from ancient times to the present. Hao considers herself fortunate to be able to spread the energy of Mulan through dance. According to her, Mulan was not only a strong person, but also a woman capable of great love, wisdom, and the ability to embrace everything. She shared similar sentiments about life in the military, which she also had experience with.
The rehearsals for Mulan were not smooth, and Hao had to push her limits when approaching the character. She cried every night when she returned to the hotel during rehearsals, just to release the pressure. Hao believes that even if her appearance was up to scratch, she still needed to portray every aspect of Mulan’s character very carefully to resonate with the audience. She also found the action scenes, which involved professional martial arts instructors teaching Chinese boxing routines, to be especially challenging. Hao had one fight scene with her partner, who played the character of a general, which lasted almost five minutes.
Hao Ruoqi’s portrayal of Hua Mulan has been well-received by audiences in China and abroad. Despite the challenges she faced while rehearsing, she persevered and delivered a stunning performance. Hao believes that Mulan’s spirit conveys the power of women and that it is an honor to portray her through dance.
After finishing her performance, Hao shared that she had been praying and trying to embody her character’s spirit. “Just now I was praying at the side of the stage and trying to get myself in character,” she said. “I reminded myself that I was playing the mighty Mulan, and her spirit and strength supported me. Although I have been performing this role for many years, her boundless energy continues to inspire me.”
In a previous performance, Hao played Yang Guifei, the beloved consort of Emperor Xuanzong in the Tang Dynasty. Her performance revitalized the classic tale and garnered over a billion views on social media. Hao explained how she incorporated modern elements into the court dances from the Han and Tang dynasties to create a more experimental approach to portraying the character’s inner world.
“I practiced my dance moves every day but also spared no effort to approach the character’s inner world. I worked really hard. Some seemingly simple moves like standing up or looking over my shoulder were actually very well-rehearsed. I polished a lot of details, such as my eyes flickering up and down,” she said.
Despite her success, Hao remains committed to improving her craft and telling more stories of famous figures from Chinese history through the power of dance. “This job is very challenging because it requires a bit of luck and a lot of persistence. Reflecting on my career, I’ve gone through so many difficulties, but I think I’m fortunate that all of my hard work has paid off,” she said. “I will keep moving forward with my career as a dancer. And I’m not done yet.”