‘Close to My Heart’ honors cultural traditions of growing up in China

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The renowned Chinese Dance Theater’s new Close to My Heart: Memories of Growing Up in China production makes its worldwide stage debut on Jan. 29, 2006 at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium on the College of St. Catherine campus in St. Paul.

But this original choreographed ensemble dance program actually had an international preview of sorts when Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, recently returned from an official trade mission to China, presented to Chinese officials, a videotape of CDT dancers demonstrating—through the language of dance—how kids everywhere celebrate universal rituals of growing up.

The setting for Close to My Heart is old China, the pace of life a bit slower than the hectic lifestyle in China and the world today. The memories of childhood and growing up in China shows striking differences but also startling similarities to what kids around the world experience today. Ten dance numbers bring to life how children honor the cultural traditions, learn about the world around them, and wish for the dreams of childhood. The dance numbers include:
• Going to the theater for the first time
• Playing with a ‘dog’ pillow to commemorate the ‘Year of the Dog’
• Taming a deer
• Fun at the fish pond
• Little sheep herders
• Playing on the hillside
• Dreams of childhood
• Paper cuttings for the window
• Looking up to Elders
• Lion dance at the Spring Festival

A new artistic director, Teng Lili, former associate artistic director, takes the helm at CDT from the retiring and internationally noted choreographer, Shen Pei. Ms. Lili, recognized for her specialty in working with younger dancers, showcases the talents of youngsters to adults in this imaginative, visually stunning program with emotionally expressive choreography. It is a topic and genre that is ‘close to the heart’ of the entire troupe. As is the tradition at CDT performances, a narrator (this year featuring both adult and youth narrators) serve as guides for the audience as they travel back through time to be a part of this cultural odyssey.

Quick Facts
When:
Public and Family Performance—Jan. 29, 2 pm
Special Performances for School Groups—Jan. 30, 9:15 & 11:15 am, 1 pm

Where: O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, The College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN.

Tickets: Adults $13; Children (2-12) $9; Family Four Pack $36

Please call 651-774-0806 for more information

The College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN 2004 Randolph Ave. St. Paul 55105.

New Artistic Director Teng Lili brings more than 100 dancers to the stage in new works and original choreography. Performance time approximately 1.5 hours for the public and family show; approximately 50 minutes for the special school performances.

Since 1992 CAAM Chinese Dance Theater has served families and delighted audiences with the best locally-produced Chinese dance serving the Midwest. They are a community-based organization under the artistic direction of a professional choreographer and talented teacher. A division of Chinese American Association of Minnesota, the oldest Chinese American community organization in Minnesota, CDT performs to more than 17,000 live audience members annually and have become the largest Chinese dance organization in the Midwest.