About Susan

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roses in Yunnan

A recent performance found me in a Dai group piece called "Beautiful Flowers" or "女兒花". The music reflects the evolving traditional-modern push-pull of Chinese ethnic minority dances: one hears the whispers of Dai ladies in their native language and the sounds of running water, then an acoustic guitar reminiscent of Spanish flamenco. Eventually the audience is jarred into a screeching electric guitar solo that would make "Guitar Hero: Dai Edition" proud, if it existed.

I recall my mother, who was born in China, mention that she had never seen Dai dances before my first performance and swore they were an invention of modern society. How tenderly ironic that I, the American born daughter, would come to share a slice of Chinese culture with her. Every time I watch or rehearse a Dai dance, I am reminded of how much our understanding of culture is limited by our own experience and curiosity.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Working on the Next Set

Another set of shows is behind me, and I'm happy that I pulled them off! An audience member told me after one performance that in my solo dance 'Amorous Affairs', I seemed as if I was in a secret, happy dream, only to be awoken to a harsh reality. This kind of feedback gives me such joyous impetus to continue working on dance as an expression of emotion.

On the horizon, I've begun rehearsing new numbers, both group and solo, and I'm also working on a Dai dance for corporate holiday parties coming up.

One solo dance I'm working on towards a theater performance is a lively Yi girl surveying amorous prospects at a festival, to which one a friend exclaimed, "So many of your dances are about lovers! What's up with that?" It's a good question, but then again aren't the vast majority of all songs about love? On with life, and love!