Yin He Dance Company celebrates Chinese art and culture through classical, modern movement

Harmony Cardenas

5 decades in the past, dance instructor Hana Liu could inform two of her youngest learners weren’t satisfied with their capabilities.

At about 6 decades previous, the two had just started dance classes at Yin He Dance, a Chinese dance company in Chicago. They weren’t quite versatile still — but a classmate was, Liu stated, and she could perception their disappointment.

Go dwelling and stretch, Liu explained to them, and “you will get there, as well.”

1 working day, they came in, and she questioned, “Did you extend?”

“Yes,” they answered. And she could see their development.

Judy Liu of the Yin He Dance company performs the “Love Of Lotus” at Free Family Fun Days at Navy Pier.

Judy Liu of the Yin He Dance enterprise performs the “Love Of Lotus” at No cost Family members Entertaining Times at Navy Pier.

“Knowing that they essentially treatment more than enough to extend on their have was some thing that built me notice the reward from this job,” claimed Liu, an teacher and dancer at Yin He who, 5 many years later, nonetheless has them as pupils.

Their story illustrates what Yin He usually means to her, Liu reported: “Dance is for anyone.”

That was a main philosophy of Yin He from the start, claimed Angela Tam, the company’s co-founder and dancer. She begun the team in 2015 with dancers Dollie Diaz and Amy Xie. They performed collectively for many years beneath teacher Jin Qiuyue in a preprofessional dance troupe called Tiny Star — Xiao Xing Xing in Chinese.

Before long, Jin was seeking to retire, and the three dancers realized they weren’t just “kids playing about any longer,” Tam explained, but had been “pretty superior.” They shaped their individual team and named it Yin He. Inspired by Minor Star, Yin He means Milky Way in Chinese. They wanted it to be available to anyone and collaborative.

They uncovered Liu and one more dancer from the College of Chicago, which kickstarted their public appearances. Tam explained they did a good deal of community performances, specifically in Chinatown.

Angela Tam — co-founder of the Yin He Dance company.

Angela Tam — co-founder of the Yin He Dance corporation.

The following step was launching the Yin He dance center. Yin He opened its own place in January 2017 and commenced presenting lessons with just 4 students that very first month.

“That was very unhappy,” Tam claimed.

Yin He now has about 60 learners. It also has 5 dancers and two apprentices who complete many periods a 12 months, showcasing Chinese classical dances, people dances and modern dances, Tam reported.

A single of her favorites was in 2019 and early 2020. Tam said the team did a dance called “Flying Kites.” At first choreographed in 1953, it became preferred with dance providers in China. It depicts a team of youthful women of all ages flying kites — symbolized by followers each individual dancer retains. They go to make imagery with their enthusiasts — in the center of the dance, they’ll make a butterfly. Kites are a visible art kind in China, Tam stated. It’s very elaborate, and the dance is regarded folkloric.

Brianna Tong (left) and instructor Hana Liu, of Chicago’s Yin He Dance company, perform “Playing the Pipa in Reverse” at the Free Family Fun Days at Navy Pier.

Brianna Tong (remaining) and instructor Hana Liu, of Chicago’s Yin He Dance organization, complete “Playing the Pipa in Reverse” at a recent Navy Pier party.

Folks dances are exciting, Liu said — celebratory, upbeat and impressive. And anyone can do them, Tam mentioned.

“It would be in a small city during a holiday getaway celebration, all the men and women in the city would just get jointly and do that dance in the city square,” Tam said.

Classical will involve far more coaching, Liu claimed. Formulated in the mid-1900s, it attracts from Chinese martial arts, Chinese opera, Chinese folk dance, ballet and also paintings and sculptures of dancers from historical periods.

“It consists of a whole lot of control in how you move,” Liu explained, “but also becoming ready to not have regulate. Controlling your body but also remaining comfortable.”

Tam also choreographs dances for the troupe. In 2018, she established a dance impressed by the #MeToo motion. In China, a equivalent hashtag circulated, with the similar pronunciation but a distinctive which means. In Chinese, “mi” implies rice, and “tu” implies rabbit, so persons used the hashtag “rice rabbit.”

The dance took inspiration from contemporary and classical dance and utilized wave imagery to convey a sense of women of all ages uplifting every single other.

When Tam co-founded Yin He Dance, the founders felt that accomplishing each conventional and contemporary dances was vital mainly because “culture is usually switching.

“I like to explain to people today, it’s not your grandma’s Chinese dance — but also we do that, far too,” Tam stated.

Liu started out dancing when she was 4 a long time previous. Her mom place her in Chinese classical dance classes at a local community heart. But she didn’t delight in it and stop in eighth grade, returning to it several years afterwards.

Liu explained she now appears to be back and understands some of the factors of her dance instruction that pushed her away and attempts to assist her students understand that.

“Dance is for all ages, all physique shapes,” Liu reported. “It’s not aligned with versatility.”

She said Yin He instructors also speak a whole lot about self-self confidence with their pupils — which they can get beyond dance.

She hopes her students are happy “of what they are undertaking and how far they’ve arrive from when they first begun.”

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