By Chen Chen, SCSC University Chronicle

Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center (TCCDC) [presented] the "Enchantment of Dance" at O'Shaughnessy Theater on Jan. 29 to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of Rabbit.

By Chen Chen, SCSC University Chronicle

Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center (TCCDC) [presented] the "Enchantment of Dance" at O'Shaughnessy Theater on Jan. 29 to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of Rabbit.

TCCDC is a non-profit performing arts and educational organization established in 2002. TCCDC attempts not only to promote, preserve and enhance Chinese Culture, but also fuse contemporary performing arts with Chinese national folk dance, Chinese classical dance, classical ballet, and martial arts. Over 80 students ages 4 to 50 are currently in the program.

TCCDC11_1Huanru Zhang is the artistic director and the Chinese and Latin dance instructor at TCCDC since 2008. She has directed two productions and a number of outreach performances since then. Zhang said she is impressed by the spirit of TCCDC dancers. Some of them travel long distances to come to class.

"Ms. Zhang really pays attentions to people's tiny details and that really makes a dance from being okay to amazing," said Ellen Qi, a TCCDC dancer.

"Dance is a hard work, the more you put in, the more you get out" said Jimmy Ji, another dancer at TCCDC. He and Cynthia Zheng [performed] "Xuan Se" in the "Enchantment of Dance".

Hanning Wong, a martial arts dancer at TCCDC, was the Master of Ceremonies of two past productions: The Joy of Dance in 2009 and Tribute to Mothers in 2010.

He said, "TCCDC is a great environment for me to learn more about my cultural heritage and close community ties. I really enjoy the close friendships that I've developed over the years and all the fun experiences I've had here."

"I feel that the teachers in this program are very versatile with their artistic and choreographic abilities, and thus allow students to fully express themselves through dance," Hanning said. "Our seasonal productions are always an exciting time where we all come together to show the community our prowess and enjoy the fruits of our labor."

Hanning [performed] in "Rivalry" on Jan. 29.

Mr. Eugene Kelly is one of the TCCDC American parents, and he is the class coordinator for the class his daughters are in. His daughters [performed] in "I Love Penguins".

"My daughters are 7 and 9 years old. They started at TCCDC a little more than a year ago. Being in the shows has been great for their self-confidence and self-esteem," Eugene said. "A Chinese neighbor told us about the TCCDC classes and asked if we would be interested in having our daughters take lessons there. Both of my daughters love dancing at TCCDC. They think the teacher is very nice and they love being in the shows."

"Dancing with TCCDC helps to give my adopted daughters a stronger sense of their Chinese identity and heritage. It is great for them to be with children from families in which the parents are also Chinese," Eugene said. "Since the teacher speaks only Mandarin, it is great practice for my daughters to have a situation in which they need to try to understand Chinese, a great addition to the Chinese language school they go to on Saturdays."

"The Chinese dance lessons include a lot of stretching and strengthening exercises which have helped my daughters to be strong and fit for their other athletic activities," Eugene added. "My wife and I feel very grateful for all the wonderful benefits TCCDC provides for our daughters. It is meaningful to me to be able to help with such a valuable and worthy program."

There [were] 17 performances in the show "Enchantment of Dance".

TCCDC11_2On May 16, 2010, dancers Tracy Geng, Elizabeth Tong, Rebecca Xu, Ellen Qi and Mary Liang participated in the 12th North American Chinese Dance Competition (NACDC) in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. The NACDC is held every two years, sponsored by the Lorita Leung Dance Association.

The dancers came back with three first prizes and one second prize. Among the first prizes, the "Shao Duo Li", a Dai dance, performed by Rebecca Xu, Ellen Qi, and Mary Liang won the first prize of the Chinese national dance, which was an intermediate level trio.

"Shao Duo Li is the story of three girls yet to be married. Each of our props represents a characteristic, like I have the flower, so I am supposed to be the tender one," Rebecca said. "Ellen has the bamboo hat, so she is very charismatic; Mary has the bamboo stick for an honest and straightforwardness."

"We practiced; we rehearsed a lot, ready for our competition. We couldn't eat or drink water, it's telling you how much this dance means to us," Ellen said. "And how much we were willing to sacrifice all these things to dance, and how much we wanted to do well with it."

Before they performed "Shao Duo Li" in Vancouver, they performed it in a TCCDC production. "Shao Duo Li" [was] replayed to meet the public in the "Enchantment of Dance" as it got such a high honor at NACDC. Mary Liang graduated, so Zoe Tu [performed] in her place for "Shao Duo Li" on Jan. 29.

Rebecca said, "I think that when I am doing Chinese dance, I also understand my identity because even I can change my first name, I can never change that I am a Chinese. Chinese dance not only teaches me how to dance; it also teaches me about my history, my culture and about who I really am."

The "Enchantment of Dance" [showed] the enchantment of Chinese Dance when tradition meets innovation. For more information please visit:

This article (TCCDC to celebrate Chinese New Year through dance) was published in SCSU University Chronicle (Volume 87 Number 28) on Jan. 24, 2011. The article was written by Chen Chen, staff writer of SCSU University Chronicle.



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