January 15, 2009
Homer to get taste of China
Chinese New Year Celebration Jan. 24 at C4Art
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Ling Wang performs a Chinese fan dance at the County Office Building this week, a sample of the style of dance the public can see at a special Chinese New Year Celebration coming up in Homer.
Ling Wang wants people here to know what authentic Chinese dance is all about.
The Cortlandville woman, a professional dancer and dance teacher who’s been teaching and directing the Central New York Dancing Team in Syracuse since 2001, will host a special Chinese New Year Celebration show in honor of Chinese New Year.
The event, open to all, will take place 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Center for the Arts of Homer, 72 S. Main St., Homer. Ticket sales will benefit the Homer Youth Center, an after-school program for Homer children.
Wang, a pretty woman full of energy and excitement, pored over a huge pile of costumes from past shows for a dancing demonstration this week at the County Office Building. Her English command was limited, but she had no problem making her intent known. She donned a costume and performed ballet twirls and spins, gliding to strands of Asian music.
“I just want to teach Cortland County children dance — real Chinese cultural dancing,” she said afterward.
The celebration will feature Chinese classic, folk and ethnic dances by Wang and her students in the Ling Dance Company, traditional Chinese finger food, and exhibits of China, Chinese music and instruments and staging of martial arts and folk songs.
Wang owns the Budget Inn on Route 11, Cortlandville, and has two daughters, Sarah Xie, 20, a 2005 Homer High and 2008 Syracuse University graduate and Celine Wang, 6, a student at St. Mary’s School.
Born and raised in mainland China, Wang started dancing with the Russian Ballet at 5 years of age. She became accomplished as a national level, first-class dancer in Beijing, where she was recruited by the world famous, “China Oriental Singers and Dancers Troup” at 15. She achieved celebrity status in her country as a high profile dancer and became a dance tutor for prekindergarten to high school students in dance schools through several cities in China.
While part of a New York City ballet tour, Wang participated in Broadway shows such as the musical, “Cats” in the mid-1990s. Julliard School of Music enlisted her expertise to tutor some students of the prestigious school. She danced the leading role in “Brides of Friendship” with Julliard School students in Lincoln Center. Cosponsored by the Chinese Consulate and the United States government, she continued to dance in New York City while teaching at Columbia and New York Universities. After establishing friendships here, she decided to move to the United States in 1997.
“I have good conversation with my body,” Wang said of her ability to communicate with students. “I want to do perfect job for Cortland County children,” she said.
“I think it’s just wonderful,” said Gary Harrington, the head of the Youth Center Advisory Board, of the proceeds benefiting the center. “And its couldn’t come at a better time. So much of our money comes from special grants and foundations that donate to us.”
Some of the foundations are tightening their belts though, because their funding comes from investments that have been hurt in the financial downturn. “We receive a grant from the Cortland Youth Bureau, but that ended up being significantly less with the governor’s budget.” He said funds raised from the show will go to equipment for the kids. The center operates at the Homer Congregational Church on the Homer Village Green and has seen between 90 and 110 children this year. On any given day, it serves a core group of 15 to 20 students, he said.
Tickets to the show are available at the door, at the Cortland County Youth Bureau at 607-753-5067 and the Homer Congregational Church at 607-749-2604.
Ling gives traditional Chinese dance classes at the Center for the Arts of Homer on Saturdays . Classes for 8 to 11 year olds, run 9 to 10 a.m.; for 5 to 7 year olds, from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m.; and 12 and up run 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wang offers adult dance from 8 to 9 p.m. for coordination, toning and stress relief.
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