I received a Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship to travel to Beijing for training in Classical Chinese dance in September 2010 for four months. It has been a remarkably rewarding and useful experience.
Firstly, the course improved my basic dance technique to a noticeable extent in terms of flexibility, control, turns and alignment. It has made me a better dancer and performer and helped me with other dance styles like Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary.
Secondly, I learnt a lot of new skills and dance vocabularies from the course. These enhanced both my teaching and creativity. Since 2011, on my return to the UK, I have taught new dances to thousands of people of a wide range of ages in the UK, developed many new dances, performed in numerous events and productions in the UK and beyond. My work has reached over 40,000 audience members since the training and I’ve undertaken cross-cultural and multimedia collaborations with other artists including ‘Lady White Snake’ – a dance theatre piece I directed, choreographed and played the main part in 2013, ‘Fleeting Moments’ – a dementia-friendly project with Chaturangan and ‘Into the Darkling Wood’ a contemporary multimedia theatrical piece with TILT.
Thirdly, the training has helped to enhance my profile as a dancer and creative producer. I successfully gained a BBC Performing Arts Fund award, offered training to local dancers in Classical Chinese dance and developed a Classical Chinese dance show at Unity Theatre Liverpool in 2012. Subsequently, we were invited to restage the show at Brewery Arts Centre in 2013.
Furthermore, I have organised several successful Chinese cultural projects with many Classical Chinese dance performances. I won the 2nd place in the category of Arts & Culture for Merseyside Women of the Year 2013; Merseyside Police Authority gave us the 2nd place for Community Award 2012.
The Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Fund has helped me with my professional development as a performer, educator and creative practitioner a great deal.
Image: Fenfen Huang
Photographer: Simon Richardson