Chinese dancers showcase diversity through performance

The Lorita Leung Dance Co. aims to showcase several styles of Chinese dancing.

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Fans and traditional makeup come to mind when one thinks of Chinese dance. While this traditional take is beautiful and popular, it is not the only style of this rich dance culture.

Lorita Leung opened her dance academy in 1970 to share and teach all these different dance styles. Forty-seven years later, Moscow’s own Festival Dance brings the Lorita Leung Dance Company to the University of Idaho with a showcase of all these different styles.

Festival Dance is a nonprofit arts organization at UI. They present an annual dance series that focuses on bringing different dance companies with different cultural backgrounds to perform at WSU or UI. They have worked together with the UI Confucius Institute to present the Lorita Leung Dance Co.

“I think it’s important to show the students different cultures that they wouldn’t have easy access to,” executive director of Festival Dance Abby Glanville said. “It’s important to be able to experience other cultures that you’re not generally immersed in.”

Leung’s daughter Jessica Jone has taken over the dance company as the artistic director. The company’s main focus is to share its love of Chinese dance culture with audiences all over the continent, and allow people to experience authentic Chinese dance, Jone said.

“In North America, people don’t have a lot of exposure to all these different styles of Chinese dance,” she said. “For some audiences, this will be their first taste of Chinese dance. We want to allow people to get a sense of all the diversity in Chinese dance.”

This performance will display diverse styles of Chinese performance, from traditional, classical and folk dance to contemporary and modern pieces. Jone said she believes performing at colleges is a good experience for the students.

“College is the perfect place to learn about the world and other cultures,” Jone said. “When in college, you have the most exposure to different cultures with so many different people and professors.”

Glanville said she believes this is a great opportunity as well, and not one to be passed up.

“I’m excited to see the range in style myself,” Glanville said. “I’ve seen a few videos of what they’ll be performing and the styles are so beautiful and the music is beautiful too.”

Jone is excited to bring the company to a place they’ve never been and share their program with the college students. The company is also open to answering questions from the audience and having a dialogue to help the audience understand the culture.

“I think we’re excited to share our enthusiasm with a new audience,” Jone said. “Many of the people at this weekend’s show will be completely new to Chinese dance.”

The Lorita Leung Dance Co. will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening in the UI administration building auditorium. Tickets are available through the Festival Dance office or at the door. Adult tickets are $16 and youth/student tickets are $10.