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Sowing the seeds of Chinese dances in Sheffield

When the girl was dressed in a Tibetan robe and tossed her sleeves, people standing far from the stage could hardly identify that she was a typical British.

"I love Chinese dances and I have been learning for two and a half years," said 11-year-old Carmen Alvarez, who have just performed on the stage of the Montgomery Theater at the center of Sheffield.

To her, Chinese dances are gracious, with various movements. Her 8-year-old sister Clara is learning at the Wanlin Dance School as well.

"At first, I wanted them to learn Chinese language, because I believe it would be useful in the future," said their mother Beena Summan.

Gradually, she came to realize that there were more to learn in Chinese culture. "Maybe one day they will go and dance in China," she said.

According to Luo Wanlin, founder of the school, there are around 80 students, but the lady who graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy is the only teacher.

Most of her students are Chinese, who, maybe born in Britain, knew little about Chinese culture, like 10-year-old Li Shimeng.

"She even speaks to us in English at home," said her mother Qi Wei. "But I know her root is in China, hence the Chinese culture should be part of her life."

That is just what Luo was trying to do.

Already a mother of two, the slim lady looked younger than her age.

"I came to the UK 12 years ago," Luo recalled. "At that time, not many British people knew Chinese dances."

This was a challenge, and an opportunity at the same time. She first taught in a local Confucius school, before opening her own school this past September.

"To the Chinese children, it is necessary to bring them closer to the culture of their mother country," she said. "As for the foreign students, dances could help promote the image of China."

"Unlike Chinese language which is hard to learn, dances, telling stories with the movements of bodies, are easier to understand," Luo added.

Talking about her ambition, the lady smiled and thought for a while. "I hope that my school could become a professional dance school, producing good dancers."

In fact, Luo had a bolder dream. "I have been learning dancing since I was a child. I love Chinese dancing so much that it is deeply embedded in my blood. If one day, in the future, Chinese dancing could gain equal recognition in the world as ballet, I would be satisfied."


Source: ecns.cn
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