Love of China Seniors Dance in Last Recital

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Love of China Seniors Dance in Last Recital

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On Saturday, April 9, 10 girls danced their last performances with their classmates at the Love of China School of Dance. Along with the other dancers at The Love of China, the graduating class combined dance, music, props, and culture to create a stunning recital. Though the performance was colorful and festive, it was also bittersweet for the senior performers, who, after spending an average of 11 years with the Love of China, felt both excited and melancholy at their final recital.

“When I was young, I watched people dance and I always enjoyed how pretty they looked on stage,” Ellen Chang ‘16 said. “I’ve been [at the Love of China] for 12 years, a full decade, and I’ve been with these people for 12 years. Knowing that this is our last recital, it was just really sad.”

Chang began Chinese dance while living in Taiwan, and dance was one of the things that she continued even after moving to the US.

At the end of each year, the Love of China holds a recital for its graduating class. Traditional Chinese dances are performed to ethnic music, many using props such as instruments, flags, and drums.

“Chinese dancing is a great way to be involved and interact with your own culture,” Melissa Wijono ‘18 said. “I don’t go back to China often and this is like a taste of China for me. I learn different dances each year and even learn dances from different parts of China.”

The recital incorporated ethnic culture from a variety of different regions in China, performing dances such as the Taiwanese Aboriginal Dance, the Fung Yang Drum Dance, and the Xinjiang Uighur Dance. The performance featured the Water Sleeves Dance, in which dancers used 7-foot long silk sleeves. In addition, many performers as well as audience members looked forward to the Ribbon Dance, which incorporates long, lightweight ribbons that float in the air.

“[The Ribbon Dance] is a lot of hard work, but it’s definitely worth it.,” Emily Lai ‘18 said. Along with many performers at the Love of China, Lai has been excited to learn the Ribbon Dance since she started Chinese dance. “Seeing the audience there to support us and clap for us, and having all my friends together dancing with me, it’s really fun.”

As well as promoting cultural awareness, Chinese dance also encourages a sense of teamwork and community. Many seniors are teaching assistants in addition to being regular performers, and help out with younger classes on a weekly basis.

“I got to teach all the little kids and relearn all my old dances and some new ones too,” Stephanie Wijono ‘16 said. “I always feel proud when [my younger class] is performing. I feel proud of them all the time.”

Although the senior class will be moving on from the Love of China, they will leave lasting impacts on both their classmates and their audiences through their dedication to teaching and performing. The Love of China’s tradition of senior recitals will continue in the future as both new and remaining dancers rise up and keep working hard to share their heritage.