Dragon dance team heads to Shanghai for three-day international competition

September 16th, 2011

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  - Seven members of the Bryant University dragon dance team leave campus on Saturday, Sept. 17, for China, where they will participate in the World Dragon and Lion Dance Competition Sept. 23-25 in Shanghai.

The two-year-old Bryant team is the only North American group competing in the tournament.

Established in September 2009, the 15-member team combines athleticism and artistry to bring serpentine life to a 54-foot-long tube of fabric that trails a highly-decorative dragon head. The team has performed throughout Rhode Island since October 2009.

For three days before the competition, the seven will be at China University of Geosciences (CUG) in Wuhan, where they will be joined by an eighth teammate currently studying in Shanghai and by a team alumnus who now teaches English at CUG. During that time, the nine teammates will drill and rehearse with their coach, CUG Prof. Kai Hu, who helped launch Bryant's team during a faculty exchange in 2009. Hu teaches physical education, is a certified Kung Fu master, serves on the board of the World Dragon and Lion Dance Competition, and coached her own CUG dragon dance team to the No. 1 spot in a past tournament.

Bryant is home to what is believed to be the country's only university-sponsored dragon dance team, according to Kongli Liu, assistant director for academic programs at the University's U.S.-China Institute. "Most dragon dance teams in the United States are sponsored by Chinese-American cultural organizations," said Liu, the team's assistant coach. "We know of no other American college or university that sponsors its own. Bryant students have embraced this opportunity to experience Chinese culture and enhance cultural diversity on campus."

The Bryant competitors are:

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Keywords: dragon dance team, student life, U.S.- China Institute