Exploring Chinese Martial Arts for Sino-Contemporary Dance Technique
A Journey to Chinese Shaolin Temple
The convergence of Chinese martial arts and the innovative Sino-Contemporary dance technique has paved the way for a groundbreaking exploration at the crossroads of these two disciplines. Throughout the past week, I embarked on an immersive journey into the expansive realm of martial arts. I had the privilege of delving into intensive study sessions alongside revered Kung Fu masters. This captivating experience kindled a relentless curiosity within me, igniting a torrent of inquiries on how to organically blend the quintessence of Chinese martial arts with the foundational principles of Western contemporary dance.
As both a Chinese American choreographer and a dedicated professor, I have invested years in scrutinizing and contrasting traditional and contemporary dance forms. My artistic vision seamlessly weaves together the traditional kinetic aesthetics rooted in Asia with the established techniques of Western contemporary dance. This intricate tapestry incorporates elements from Chinese classical dance, martial arts, and folk dance, culminating in a profound embodiment of Chinese body aesthetics.
Central to this endeavor is the development of the pioneering Sino-Contemporary dance training system. This visionary approach draws inspiration from the graceful movements of Chinese Han and Tang classical dance, the dynamic energy of martial arts, and the captivating allure of various Asian dance traditions. The fusion seamlessly integrates techniques from Western traditional modern dance and contemporary dance, complemented by the incorporation of cutting-edge animal flow movement patterns.
At the core of Sino-Contemporary lies a meticulous emphasis on the body's natural curvature, the cultivation of a centered and grounded presence, and the mastery of internal energy, known as Qi. Dancers under my guidance harness the power of inner breath control to govern their movements, projecting their artistic expressions seamlessly into the surrounding space.
My ultimate aspiration transcends individual endeavors. It is a fervent ambition to propel the time-honored Chinese body aesthetics to the forefront of the global stage in the 21st century. This aspiration is interwoven with a journey that has been nothing short of extraordinary. Immersed in the presence of these seasoned martial arts experts, I have undergone a profound transformation. Their wisdom and guidance have not only redefined my approach to physical training but have also catalyzed a paradigm shift in my overarching perspective.
Gratefully Sponsored by Temple University: Embracing Funding from Temple Global Engagement, Grant-in-Aid Award, and Summer Research Award"
Dance Residency at Aakash Odedra Dance Company in The UK 2023
The announcement you've been waiting for is finally here...
We have two incredibly talented dancers joining us for the 9th - 13th January for dance residencies.
Join us in this exciting Contemporary dance workshop with Xiang Xu
one of the fantastic dancers in residency at Aakash Odedra Company.
Xiang Xu is a dance professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania and is here to deliver an exciting masterclass teaching his own style, SinoContemporary.
In this class emphasis is placed on the ability to adopt Chinese bodily aesthetics: three bodily curves, center of gravity moving close to the ground, and internal energy—Qi. You will learn how to use internal breath to control physicality and expand your movement capabilities, which will aid your artistic growth as performers and your knowledge of the Chinese traditional bodily cultures behind these movements.
Tuesday 10th January, 18:45 – 20:30
32 Belgrave Road, Leics, LE4 5AS
£5, buy your ticket here: https://bit.ly/3Wg2pHQ
Cutural Residency in Cambodian National Arts Center with Prumsodun Ok
Born to Khmer refugees in the United States, I rose from the poverty and violence-stricken inner city of Long Beach to become the new face of Khmer dance. I use art to heal, illuminate, and empower, reviving the spirit of my people from the enduring forces of conflict. Seen by many as a champion of Khmer culture, I work as an artist, teacher, writer, and producer to shape a world where everyone can blossom into their fullest selves.
My interdisciplinary performances contemplate the “avant-garde in antiquity,” and have been presented at the Department of Performing Arts (Cambodia), Bangkok Theater Festival – Asia Focus (Thailand), Za-Koenji (Japan), Godrej Leadership Forum (India), Teatro Benito Juarez (Mexico), bhive (Greece), REDCAT (United States), Currents Festival (Cambodia), Camping Asia (Taiwan), CTM Festival (Germany), and documenta (Germany). They have been celebrated as “a vision of elegance and grace” (The Phnom Penh Post) and “Radical Beauty” (The Bangkok Post).
Interweaving Traditions: A Cultural Residency Bridging Cambodian Classical Dance and Sino-Contemporary
In August 2019, my journey led me to Cambodia, where I embarked on a transformative cultural residency alongside Prumsodun Ok, the visionary founder of Cambodia's pioneering all-male gay dance company. His mission to revive and reinvent the Khmer dance tradition, once nearly eradicated during the dark period of the Khmer Rouge, left an indelible mark on my understanding of cultural resilience.
During this immersive experience, I delved into the intricate physical aesthetics of traditional Cambodian classical dance. Imbibing their dance training system not only enriched my knowledge but also laid a profound foundation for the evolution of the Sino-Contemporary dance technique.
In the course of our interactions, Prumsodun Ok imparted a pivotal insight that has resonated deeply within me - that artistic brilliance is not solely born of talent and creativity, but rather forged by an unwavering courage to break barriers.
This enlightening experience, among others, has crystallized my conviction that dance should never be forced into the confines of an international language. Its inherent multilingual nature is a treasure trove of exploration and celebration. Our journey in modern and contemporary dance should stand upon the sturdy foundation of our diverse cultural traditions, nurturing and augmenting them instead of dismantling their essence. It is through such interwoven threads of heritage that dance truly flourishes, carrying forward the legacy of our collective humanity.