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Women Making History: XiaoChuan Xie

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Women Making History: XiaoChuan Xie

Women Making History: XiaoChuan Xie

Born in Naijing, China in 1987, ballet and modern dancer XiaoChuan Xie joined the Qianxian Art Theater, the most prestigious dance company in China, at the ripe age of 16. She has performed for presidents Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao. Although Xie excelled at the art, winning the National Dance Competition in China for modern dance performance in 2008, she was nonetheless searching for something more.

Therefore, she went to Shanghai in order to take modern and post-modern dance classes. However, she discovered much more than she had hoped for: the work of Martha Graham. Seeing the Martha Graham Dance Company perform, she made the leap to move to America although her parents were a bit reluctant. Now, Ms. Xie will make her debut on March 15 dancing in Robert Wilson’s Snow on the Mesa and Martha Graham’s Maple Leaf Rag at the opening night gala celebrating the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 85th anniversary. She is living proof that dreams do become reality with a little determination.

Here’s a little glimpse into her artistic mind:

M.I.S.S.:  What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?

Martha Graham

M.I.S.S.: How did you get your start as a dancer?

I was brought to the dance school by my mother accidentally. The only reason that she brought me to this dance school is that she had the army uniform dream as a girl, and this school belongs to the Chinese army. They offered us [all those enrolled in the school] army status and the uniform . So one day, my mother came to me said: “Do you want to dance?” I said sure! (actually I didn’t know what dance was at the time). Then my dance school life started. I fell in love with it and knew I was going to be a professional dancer after 2 years of disciplined dance training. As Graham said: “if you don’t know what to do, just take one thing, do it long enough and hard enough, you will find out what to do.”

M.I.S.S.: What is it about modern dance that you liked better than ballet and Chinese dance?

Ballet and Chinese dance are both classic-formed dances. Everything is set; I had to be perfect and precise in every step, as if [I were] a beautiful painting or an exquisite doll. But modern dance allows more freedom for me to present myself on stage. Instead of being anyone else or beautiful figures, modern dance brings myself on stage, a true human being with my voice and life experience.

Ms. Xie practicing her art

M.I.S.S.: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve performed?

Chronicle (by Martha Graham, 1936)

M.I.S.S.: Now that you have achieved your dream of dancing for the Martha Graham Dance Company what do you plan to do next?

I love Graham, which I found as my stage language. I’m planning to bring it to China, to give people in China the chance to know Graham, and be able to use Graham’s spirit through their whole life. I introduced the Dean of Beijing Dance Academy to our Artistic Director, Janet Eilber last year. He is pleased to have Graham teachers going to Beijing giving lectures and classes and setting Graham pieces for their students, which is in process now. I’m still working on that, introducing Graham to universities in China.

M.I.S.S.: What part of being a professional dancer is the most challenging and that you dislike the most?

The most challenging part is touring. I have to travel a lot with the company to give performances all around the world. Dancing is hard enough, besides it, there is traveling, packing, unpacking… which is exhausting. I have to get over it and still give a wonderful performance for the audience as usual.
The most disliked part is that as a professional dancer, I have to take corrections from everyone, everyone.

M.I.S.S.: .  Any advice for ladies who have dreams of being professional dancers?

I  read “What I talk about when I talk about running” by Haruki Murakami. He talked about the three most important qualities a novelist has to have: TALENT, FOCUS, ENDURANCE. For me, they are exactly the same for a dancer. So, I would suggest that they just keep going with these three elements throughout their whole life.

Sound words from a rising star. Expect to see great things from XiaoChuan Xie in the near future.

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International Dance Day

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International Dance Day

Here at M.I.S.S., we love to shake our bootys, so in honor of International Dance Day we’re showing you some of our favorite dances EVA. Much love goes out to Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Ballet companies worldwide, Gregory Hines, Bob Fosse, and Fred & Ginger. And, we can’t forget some of the ground breaking music videos that created dance crazes like Madonna’s Vogue, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, Kid ‘n Play’s House Party Dance-Off, MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This, the Macarena and Digital Underground’s The Humpty Dance.  Oh, one more, I had to add the best dance scene from a movie ever made – the last scene of Girls Just Want To Have Fun (SJP waaaay before SATC)! Comment and let us know what your favorite dance / dance music video is!!

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Women Making History 2009: Week Three Round-Up

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Women Making History 2009: Week Three Round-Up

Women Making History 2009: Week Three Round-Up

Women Making History: Martha Graham, Leah of Married to the Mob, The Ladies of Hottub, Michelle Ten of Missfitstyles, Isabelle aka Narcissister, The Ladies of She-bible, and Maria Callas

Women Making History: Martha Graham, Leah of Married to the Mob, The Ladies of Hottub, Michelle Ten of Missfitstyles, Isabelle aka Narcissister, The Ladies of She-bible, and Maria Callas

Week three of our Women Making History series for 2009 has come to an end. Below you’ll find links to all the incredible ladies we’ve featured thus far. Make sure to check out any you might have missed and, again, stay tuned cause we’re not done with March which means we’re not done honoring Women’s History Month!

The Ladies of Week 3:

Sunday, March 15th: Martha Graham

Monday, March 16th: Leah of Married To The Mob

Tuesday, March 17th: The Ladies of Hottub

Wednesday, March 18th: Michelle ten of Missfitstyles

Thursday, March 19th: Isabelle aka Narcissister

Friday, March 20th: The Ladies of She-bible

Saturday, March 21st: Maria Callas

In case you missed any week one or two features, we’ve rounded those up after the jump!

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Women Who Made History: Martha Graham

Statuesque figure exuding grace as she commanded the floor, Martha Graham invigorated modern dance. Graham bravely broke away from the sometimes stoic quality of ballet, and delved into a dance form that forged extreme sentiment with technicality. Her career can be summed up as a search for self-expression, which materialized into the creation of the Martha Graham Dance Company; it survived its creator until this day and gave birth to many reputable dancers.

Also bearing her name is the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, providing training for prospective dancers such as Madonna back in the day. I might be off, but I think she’s kind of famous now.

Read more on the extraordinary Martha Graham, after the jump!

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