When the East meets the West: University Dance Company collaborates with Chinese performers

Gillian Feehan, Campus Life Editor

This weekend at the University, the East will meet the West and come together to speak the same language: dance. The University’s Dance Company is bringing in 18 dancers and six musicians from Shanghai, China to perform at the annual Fall Dance Gala. The performers are from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Shanghai Normal University, and their visit is supported by the University’s China Institute.

“It’s so wonderful for these Shanghai students to be able to see the liberal arts educational program and the various concentrations and fields of study of the students here. They all come from a different background, but share dance on the same stage,” Professor of Dance Er-Dong Hu said.

There will be a variety of performances during the show, such as traditional Chinese dances and pieces choreographed by Hu and Associate Professor of Dance Kelly Knox. Additionally, Knox and a professor from Shanghai have worked together to choreograph a real East meets West piece by combining Chinese dance and American dance for Chinese and University students to perform together.

“[The performance] is a true collaboration with our Bucknell Professor Kelly Knox and a Shanghai Normal University professor as they co-choreograph and emphasize what it really means when East meets West,” Hu said.

University students in the Dance Company are working hard to prepare for this weekend’s performance and are excited to be a part of such a unique experience.

“I love [the collaboration] because it’s so happy and upbeat. For almost the entire time, each of us are partnered with a Chinese dancer, and it’s really fun connecting with them throughout the dance … It’s cool how even though we don’t speak the same language, we can still understand each other. This has taught me how universal dance really is,” Cassidy Nyfield ’17, a dancer in the collaborative piece, said.

The East Meets West: Fall Dance Gala will be held Dec. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. on both days in Harvey M. Powers Theatre in Coleman Hall. Admission is $5 for students and $10 for the general public.

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