NEW YORK (Feb. 5, 2015) — The South of Golf Mountain dance-theatrical performance will benefit the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum (MDCHM) preservation and archival efforts.
Chen Dance Center (CDC), the nation’s largest Asian-American dance institution, announced that H.T. Chen & Dancers’ U.S. tour will kick off Chinese New Year with the event on Saturday, February 21, at 2 p.m. at Delta State University’s Jobe Auditorium in Cleveland, MS. Open dress rehearsal to be held on Fri., Feb. 20, 2015, at 7 p.m.
Honoring the Feb. 19th Lunar New Year, MDCHM presents the internationally acclaimed dance company and week-long festivities beginning Mon., Feb. 16th. Highlights include movement workshops led by CDC’s Associate Director, Dian Dong and company dancers, the traditional Chinese Ribbon Dance, contemporary dance, and fitness. Families are encouraged to join students and the general public in interactive activities celebrating the best of health and luck for the Lunar New Year of the Sheep.
“It’s our great pleasure to welcome back H.T. Chen & Dancers to Cleveland,” said MDCHM President Raymond Wong. “We were honored to be included in their research of Chinese immigrants lured to America by the promise of gold and a better life. We’re happy to accept donations from these wonderful performances to support the history and heritage of the MS Delta Chinese. The blending of Chinese music with Deep South Blues is amazing and we’re thrilled to present this Lunar New Year gift to you.”
A “Meet-the-Artist Reception” including H.T. Chen & Dancer and Delta Arts Alliance, will feature an audience Q&A conducted by Frieda Quon, associate professor, emeritus at Delta State University, Gilroy Chow, an MDCHM board member, and Mr. Wong, will be held after the open-rehearsal and performance, with Lunar New Year refreshments and snacks, partly donated by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance’s Mississippi Lodge.
“South of Gold Mountain incorporates oral histories, traditional Chinese music and documented experiences of the first Chinese settlers in the southern states before World War II,” stated CDC’s Artistic Director H.T. Chen, who has given poetic voice to Asians in America.
The contemporary sound score is by James Lo. The multi-generational cast features residents from Cleveland, Greenville, and Jackson, MS, and Memphis, TN: three instructors from Delta Arts Alliance (Laura Babba, Miranda Wieneke, Danza Locke) and MDCHM board members making their acting/dance debut. Daily rehearsals will incorporate local talent from Greenville, MS, James Thomas Chow, 9 and Rosemary Elizabeth Chow, 11.
Endorsed and encouraged by Chinese community heritage museums and family associations in the U.S., Dong and Chen journeyed extensively over three years throughout the southern states interviewing immigrants and succeeding generations collecting material that inspired this invigorating and insightful production.
South of Gold Mountain will continue to tour rural and urban Asian communities including Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, AZ, from March 23-28, and the Wright Center at Samford University, Birmingham, AL, from April 13-19. The project is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ “National Dance Touring Program,” the Mississippi Humanities Council, and Alternate Roots, based in Atlanta, GA.
South of Gold Mountain will be presented at Jobe Auditorium, Delta State University, 101 Fifth Avenue, Cleveland, MS 38733, on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. For reserved tickets, please contact: Emily Jones/Delta University a[email protected], [email protected], or call 662-846-4781. Suggested admission please: (Open rehearsal, Friday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., $6) $15, $12 for students/seniors, $20 for families. All proceeds from admission will benefit MDCHM.
“We are pleased to accept donations from these performances to support the preservation and care of the history and heritage of the MS Delta Chinese,” Wong said.
H.T. Chen & Dancers, formed in 1978, performs innovative pieces blending contemporary dance with traditional Asian aesthetics. Chen Dance Center opened in 1988 as the first professional performance space in New York City’s Chinatown. The creative hub for its touring dance company, it offers a thriving, community driven performing arts school and an intimate, black box performance space. For more information: www.chendancecenter.org.
The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum opened in 2012, facing a rapidly disappearing society and culture. It promotes local heritage preservation by actively collecting for future generations, the oral histories, memorabilia, photographs and textiles related to the history and accounts of the Mississippi Delta Chinese immigration and settlement. Located at Delta State University, Capps Archives, 3rd floor, it is free and open to the public; http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum/ms-delta-chinese-heritage.