HT Chen and Dancers

Hamilton College students dance with the HT Chen Dancers at Hamilton College on Friday, November 6, 2016 in Clinton, NY. Photo by Nancy L. Ford.

Year: 2016-2017
DanceForce Member: Nancy Long
Artists: HT Chen and Dancers
Community Partners: Hamilton College; Utica Dance
Audience: 704
County: Oneida

The beauty of working with NYC-based, HT Chen and Dancers, particularly Dian Dong, is that we are guaranteed a generosity of spirit that is matched by their passion for the engaging stories of the Chinese American experience told through their unique vocabulary of traditional and modern dance. HT Chen’s considerable experience collaborating with community partners to engage performers and new audiences was a compelling reason for bringing for the third time. Mohawk Valley Dance Partnership (Michelle Reiserr-Memmer of Hamilton College, Nancy Long) combined resources to host HT Chen and Dancers for the presentation of “South of Gold Mountain” and “Meridien”. The two-part residency began with Dian Dong and two company members conducting open auditions and rehearsals for potential community partners, ranging in age from age 9-adult, during their visit September 22-24, 2016 and culminated in a school show and public performance at Wellin Hall, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Hamilton College Dance Department was host to the auditions for approximately 20 local participants, all of whom were invited to perform. Utica Dance was pleased to have five dancers, ages twelve to fifteen, dance along side other students from the community, Hamilton College students, local elders in the Asian American community, and the professional dancers of HT Chen and Dancers. During the September residency, Dian Dong and the two company members presented a lecture demonstration, with video projection, dance demonstration and audience particpation, at Hamilton College.

During the planning, an effort was made to invite students and educators in the community who already had an interest in Chinese Language and culture. We contacted Hui Chen, Ph.D., OHM BOCES Mandarin Chinese Teacher who invited six of her classes from Clinton and Waterville school districts to attend the day-time school performance on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Following the performance she wrote, “On behalf of all my Clinton Chinese 1b, 2a, 2b, level 3 students and my Waterville Chinese 2b and level 3 students, I want to say THANK YOU for providing us with such a good field trip opportunity. My students, I and all teachers going with the students LOVE this performance. We all appreciate your help to make our field trip possible. Thank you for initiating the invitation and we are looking forward for more opportunities in the near future.”