Claire Cen, a sophomore from Los Altos, Calif., started in Chinese dance and ballet when she was about 5 years old.
On Friday evening, February 9, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Athletics Center dance studio, she will share a piece of her heritage with a Chinese dance workshop, in conjunction with the Loomis Chaffee Lunar New Year celebration.
Claire will teach small sections of a dance called "The Fire," a mixture of classical Chinese dance and contemporary dance. She also will demonstrate the use of fans in Chinese dance. She says the fans are a visual element that add to the “fire” theme of the dance.
In Los Altos, Claire joined a competitive dance team when she was 10.
“I was one of the youngest on the team,” Claire said. “And the dance I am going to be teaching, when we were learning it, was the first time for me using a fan, so I had to learn quickly. It was an adjustment at first, but I’m pretty efficient now.”
For the last two years, she has been a member of the LC Dance Company, which requires auditions.
Claire said she hopes those who come to the workshop learn something new, “whether it be about different aspects of Chinese culture or learning about the dance and how to use the fans.”
For Claire, learning Chinese dance has enabled her to connect with parts of her heritage. “There also are various ethnic minorities in China that have their own style of dance, and we learned some of these, so it was a way to not only learn about my culture but of others,” she added.
Claire’s decision to share this her interest in Chinese dance was sparked by her involvement in the Student Community Committee of the Norton Family for the Common Good. The student leadership position offers students the opportunity to home in on elements of the school’s mission — commitment to the best self and the common good and emphasis on engaged citizenship — and deliver programming to their peers in a meaningful, authentic way.
“Claire has been working on ways to share some of her passions within the performing arts with the broader community,” Associate Director of the Norton Center Lillian Corman said. “She is a driven and motivated student, an intellectual thinker, and very present and active on campus.”
Other Lunar New Year celebrations:
Saturday, February 10: Lunar New Year Party. The International Student Ambassadors (ISAs), StuActs, the Pan Asian Student Alliance (PASA), and the South East Asians at Loomis (SEAL) organization invite the LC community to sample the flavors of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, 8–10 p.m. in the dining hall. Check the table for red envelopes.
Saturday, February 17: Dragon Dance, Tai Chi, and Traditional Tea Ceremony. A combination of workshops and performances led by Asian Performing Arts CT will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the SNUG. The event is being offered by the ISAs, StuActs, PASA, and SEAL.