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Today’s post is going to be a review of the historical fantasy drama, Dance of the Sky Empire.
2020 was a pretty good year for dramas (it was a good thing too because of COVID and quarantine and all).
Sometimes, in the c-drama world, you have to wait for years to get a decent drama but in 2020, we got several.
Dance of the Sky Empire Synopsis
Dance of the Sky Empire is about a girl from the Kunwu Clan, Su You Lian’s (the main female lead) mission to defrost the Dragon King, who has been frozen for years.
Li Xuan is our male lead. He is from the opposing side, the human clan. His role is to protect his people.
What happens when two people from opposing clans fall in love with each other?
Female Lead – Su You Lian
There’s a lot of pressure on Su You Lian’s shoulders as she has the task of awakening the king who has been in deep slumber.
She’s willing to do whatever it takes to complete her mission although her feelings for Li Xuan made her unsure.
She is a serious person and the complete opposite of Li Xuan, the more fun-loving and chill guy.
There’s not much character development other than the fact she falls in love with the male lead.
Why are two guys in love with her? I have no idea but it’s a common plotline we see played over and over again.
I can’t help but think if it’s the actress who played her, Wu Jia Yi (吴佳怡) that made the character dull. Was it her acting or was it the way the character was written?
As an actress, I am very neutral about her.
Most dramas are catered toward the female audience so the series need to have a strong male character. Dance of the Sky Empire is the same. However, I realized just how important it is for the female character to shine as well.
She had no charisma or star quality.
I would have liked to see how another actress would have portrayed the character.
She also looks very tired in almost all the scenes (she’s the perkiest when she’s with Li Xuan). That’s something I kept noticing throughout the drama. It was pretty distracting.
Male Lead – Li Xuan
In general, I feel like it’s mostly the female actresses in dramas that have to act well. The female character is usually kind of cute while the male leads tend to be cold and unfeeling. In this drama, it’s the opposite.
Xu Kai’s (许凯) character Li Xuan, is playful and mischievous.
I prefer these types of male characters to the cold type. I like my male leads not to be a block of ice.
His character is my favourite part of the drama.
He teases Su You Lian a lot, which made some pretty cute scenes.
He also falls for her first. It’s adorable when the guy likes the girl first. Although I’m sure You Lian likes Li Xuan as well, it almost seems like he likes her way more than she likes him.
That was nice to see. Isn’t it usually the opposite in these kinds of Chinese dramas?
Dance of the Sky Empire – The Romance
They might not have the strongest chemistry as a couple but it’s still there.
Some romance scenes in Chinese dramas such as My Sassy Princess heat up pretty quickly. Dance of the Sky Empire has more of a slow-burn type of romance.
There are not a lot of lovey-dovey scenes going on until like 30% into the drama.
If you look forward to these types of scenes, episode 11 onwards is for you.
There are also some heart-breaking scenes, making the audience more invested.
One memorable scene is when the two leads are fighting each other. The fight is taking an emotional toll on them but it’s something they are forced to do. It’s one of my favourite scenes.
Another one of my favourite scenes is when he sacrifices himself so she can go back to the real world. It even made me tear up a little.
Xu Kai and Wu Jia Yi both have starred in the same dramas before (I believe this was their third collaboration together). I did some quick research to find out that they were also a couple in the drama, Untouchable Lovers.
If you enjoyed their chemistry in Dance of the Sky Empire, you can consider watching Untouchable lovers as well.
Noticeable Supporting Characters
Book of Heaven Grandpa
The Book of Heaven grandpa is an immortal that meets Li Xuan and Su You Lian.
He played an important role to get their love story going and is the most dramatic character in the series.
You know how in a lot of shows, there’s this one jokester character that lightens up the mood? He’s the one for Dance of the Sky Empire.
His immature behaviour along with his banter with Li Xuan makes him funny. He is the type of character where some might find him funny while others might roll their eyes and cringe.
It depends on your type of humour.
He also has a Shiba Innu as a pet. The dog is so cute I just want to reach in the screen to squish its face.
Long Wei Er
This is a pretty big spoiler alert but the audience finds out that Long Wei Er, the second prince is actually a female. She bathes in this magic potion that allows her to physically look like a man. Her mom forced her to do this because of a prediction the Emperor heard.
A female pretending to be a male is hardly original. The storyline didn’t add much to the drama nor did her unrequited love for Li Xuan.
I am iffy with the actress who played Long Wei Er. She was decently convincing as a guy but I questioned her acting skills.
Dance of the Sky Empire Show Pacing
The beginning of the drama was quite slow. It was around the middle of the show that things started to pick up.
The drama shouldn’t wait long for the plotline to grab the audience’s attention. Viewers usually only watch a few episodes to get a feel for whether or not they want to continue watching.
Maybe the show could have gained more viewers if they edited it differently.
The ending was also somewhat disappointing. The dragon king barely showed his face all throughout the drama, including in the last episode.
It was anticlimactic. He wasn’t even in many scenes. I was interested in watching his character development as he is an important character but nope.
Also, there weren’t any mushy-gushy romantic moments towards the end either and those are my favourite parts.
Dance of the Sky Empire – Music
A drama’s OST is always a hit or miss.
The lead actors aren’t considered big-name actors (yet!). Therefore, my expectations were lower for their show’s music. However, how popular the actors are is not always an indicator that the show will have good songs.
For example, in the Oath of Love, I expected better songs because the male and female leads are both high-profile actors. I was disappointed to find out I didn’t like any of them.
The songs I keep replaying on Spotify are 情动的光 and 雪舞.
Don’t you find historical dramas have better songs than modern dramas? It’s probably because they add those Chinese instruments that make it sound absolutely beautiful.
Xu Kai – Main Male Actor
Xu Kai is probably the most well-known actor on the cast list.
He won over a lot of hearts with his role in the drama, Story at YanXi Palace. Although Dance of the Sky Empire didn’t experience the same popularity level as Story of Yanxi Palace, there’s a good reason why he’s popular.
If Xu Kai has already won you over through his other roles, you probably won’t want to miss out on this TV show either.
You might even fangirl over him in Dance of the Sky Empire because he basically carried the show. I seriously wouldn’t have been as invested if it wasn’t for him.
Like many other male Chinese actors, I have found someone to pay attention to when it comes to his future works.
His acting skills, height, and appearance all allow him to have strong potential to become the next ‘it’ actor.
He is a rising star so I am sure he will have other good quality dramas coming out in the future.
Overall Thoughts – Dance of the Sky Empire
Dance of the Sky Empire is a cute and simple love story. Wuxia dramas are known for their complicated storylines. This drama is one of the exceptions since it’s only 28 episodes.
Dance of the Sky Empire is not one of those Chinese dramas you see plastered everywhere. This drama might not have glowing reviews from viewers but it’s still very much a watchable show.
It’s perfect for when you’re trying to turn off your brain from life. It’s a TV show you can quickly watch over the weekend while you’re staying at home. And for Xu Kai fans.
Now to You – Dance of the Sky Empire
Is watching Dance of the Sky Empire on your list of shows to watch? If you’ve watched it already, what did you think of the drama?
Let me know in the comments down below!