Wednesday, April 2, 2003

College Hosts Free Chinese Dance Workshops

Chestertown, MD, April 1, 2003 — The Washington College Dance Program announces four presentations on Chinese culture by Dr. Mei Hsiu Chan including a lecture on Chinese Lion Dancing on Monday, April 7, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. in the Casey Academic Center Forum; a workshop in T'ai Chi Ch'uan, the Chinese “soft” martial art (Monday at 4:00 p.m.); a health and relaxation workshop in Chan Style Chi Gong (also known as Qigong) on Tuesday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m.; and a master class in Chinese Classical Dancing (Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.). All workshops are free and will be held in the Dance Studio of the Lifetime Fitness Center. The public is invited to attend. For more information call 410-778-7237.
Mei Hsiu Chan, a native of Taiwan, began her dance studies in Chinese Classical Ballet at the age of four and Chinese Martial Arts at eight. She graduated from the College of Chinese Culture where she studied T'ai Chi Chu'an, ballet, modern dance, tap, folk dance, and the many faces of Chinese dance. Dr. Chan toured the world as a dancer and martial artist with world-renowned Chinese Acrobats from Taiwan between 1973-1980. She received her MFA degree in dance at Arizona State University and organized a Classical Chinese Dance Company in 1988 and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Ethnic Woman in the Arts from Arizona State University in 1988. As an artist, she was on the Touring Roster of the Arizona Commission on the Arts from 1988 to 1993. In 2001, she received a Ph.D. degree in Dance and Related Arts from Texas Woman's University. Currently, she is the chair of Performing Arts Department at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, AZ.
Dr. Chan has been invited to present her research papers and to teach Chan Style Chi Gung (aka Qigong), T'ai Chi Chu'an, and Chinese dance workshops at the Dance and the Child (DaCI) International Conference, the Nation Conference of the Congress on Research in Dance, American College Dance Festivals, the National Ethnography Form, the National Dance Association 2002 convention in San Diego, the Texas Association for Health, Physical, Recreation & Dance Convention (TAHPERD), and the 44th ICHPER-SD World Congress (International Council for HPERD). Dr. Chan has also toured worldwide to present dance, Chan Chi Gung, and Tai Chi Chuan workshops at schools and universities.
The lion dance is an important tradition in China, dating back to the Han Dynasty (205 B.C.-220 A.D in China); during the Tang Dynasty (716-907 A.D.) it was at its peak where it was performed during religious festivals. If well performed, the lion dance is believed to bring luck and happiness. Although lions are not native in China, they came to the country via the famous Silk Road. Rulers in what is today Iran and Afghanistan sent lions to Chinese emperors as gifts in order to get the rights to trade with Silk Road merchants. The lion dance was not only introduced in China, but also in Korea and Taiwan where it is still a part of festivities such as Chinese New Year, weddings, and the openings of restaurants.
This presentation is partially funded by the Washington College Student Government Association.

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