By Kristen Zee, Staff Writer
Dancing since she was 5 years old, Emily O. has dedicated many of her days to the art of Chinese folk dance. Traveling to China, doing street performances, and festivals are some of the ways that Emily has proven her dedication to art.
Last summer Emily’s family traveled to China (Chengdu city, Sichuan province) for 9 days to learn different styles of Chinese folk dance. During her trip, she practiced for 7 hours a day and learned 3 dances that she performed with her group at the end of the trip. “The way the dance is taught in China is very different than back at home,” Emily said.
Emily performs a few times per year. Some are at the Chinese New Year parade, the street festivals in Chinatown where hundreds of people come and go to watch her and her peers perform a Chinese folk dance. Emily enjoys completing her dances as she feels accomplished and supported with the bond she created with her fellow peers.
Every Saturday, Emily stays at the company’s studio, Chinese Dance Folk Association, for 5 hours. She first starts off as a teacher’s assistant for kids around the age of 6, from 12-1pm, which she has been doing for the past 2 years. Emily enjoys teaching as she feels a sense of affirmation when she sees her kids dancing the routine she helped teach.
Then from 2:30-4:45pm, she practices her own dances with her group, where the hardest part is remembering the choreography and the form she has to keep throughout all the dances.
Emily started dancing because of her parents and her older sister, who was already in the company at the time. While Emily didn’t enjoy dancing right away, she also doesn’t regret joining as the bonds created with the people there are extremely special and important to her. There are even 2-3 fellow dancers that started with the company at the same time as Emily. In addition, Emily’s younger sister, who is a freshman at Galileo, is also part of the company.
“I’ve grown to love dancing because my peers and teachers are always supporting me. But at the beginning I did not like dancing as I felt my teacher was very strict and critical, but later I realized that it was for my improvement and growth,” Emily said.