1. CAAM CDT – CAAM Chinese Dance Theater is dedicated to preserving and celebrating our Chinese cultural heritage and enriching the cultural life of all Minnesotans through the universal language of dance. It is a division of Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM); the oldest, largest, non-profit organization dedicated to addressing Chinese American issues in Minnesota with activities that go back as far as the 1930’s. CDT is managed separately under the direction of a Management Committee, chaired by Wendy Tai. CAAM CDT’s hallmark program continues to be main stage productions which in recent years have been held at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. Each show, under the direction of the Artistic Director, brings together new and exciting choreography, captivating costumes, vibrant lighting and rich staging. A theme for each show, thoughtfully chosen to educate as well as to delight, allows us to focus on particular aspects of Chinese culture and values. Audience members come from a cross-section of the community and represent all age groups, as well as a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The current grant is to support the CDT’s 2010 Chinese New Year show, ‘Sounds of the Drum’. This theme originated at least 4-5,000 years ago when a clay pot was covered with an antelope skin and beat to honor the gods and ancestors. But many other types and uses of the drums have evolved over the years, right down to the modern day lion dance drum often seen during Chinese New Year. Embraced by China’s many ethnic groups, the drum has been incorporated into many diverse Chinese dance styles, both imperial and folk, and for many purposes including calling warriors to battle, celebrating farming life, and expressing childhood joy. Bringing these examples of diverse styles with important messages from Chinese culture to our modern audiences is our goal. With this in mind, CAAM Chinese Dance Theater’s 2010 production, “Sounds of the Drum” will explore power and energy as it has evolved through the use of the Chinese drum. After more than ten years of producing shows at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul, CAAM CDT has learned that Chinese New Year is one of the best times to attract audiences looking for a way to connect to Chinese culture. CDT’s 2010 program, in part inspired by the pageantry of the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, featuring one thousand drummers, will bring a live performance of over 100 dancers/drummers to Twin Cities audiences to inspire audiences young and old in the traditional of live Chinese dance with drums large and small.
2. Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) – This grant is to support the Theatre’s production of bringing the heroic story of Disney’s Mulan to the stage from April 27-June 13, 2010. Up to 34,362 young people and families will be able to see the play in forty-six public performances, and 15,452 students and teachers will be able to attend school matinees at reduced prices. Each year CTC presents top-quality work from around the nation and the world and premieres challenging new plays developed through its lab, Threshold. These plays tell stories of effort, transformation, courage, and connection to arouse young people’s curiosity about our complex world, a world of child labor organizers (Iqbal), urban Indians and reality TV (Average Family), civil war (The Last Boys of Sudan), family farms (Amber Waves), and shifting demographics (Snapshot Silhoutte). Through the creation of work for young people and the generation of initiatives for using theater in education and community development, CTC seeks to be an international model for excellence in theater. It believes in the power of theater to open discussions, touch hearts, and question accepted notions. Maxine Hong Kingston memoir, ‘The Woman Warrior’, one of the most influential American books of the 1970s, tells the author’s story of growing up with a strong Chinese mother who perpetuates a cultural tradition of male supremacy in which ‘it is better to have geese than girls’. To counter this belittling message, Kingston resuscitates an empowering Chinese tradition, that of Fa Mu Lan, the woman warrior mythologized in the 6th century Ballad of Mulan. Kingston takes Mylan as her inspiration as she struggles against the competing myth of the submissive Chinese woman. The fabled woman warrior of Chinese legend rises again to inspire a new generation of American girls through the Disney film, Mulan, in 1998. In this version, the village matchmaker labels the feisty young Mulan as unsuitable for marriage – some might say a curse worse than death. Instead of sinking under the matchmaker’s decree, the girl defies her father’s orders and joins the war against the invading Hans. Disguised as her own fictional brother, with her little dragon Mushu hidden in her clothing, Mulan leads the Chinese army to victory. Like so many heroines who must oppose a beloved father to achieve a noble destiny, Mulan presents us with a complex character torn between filial loyalty and personal vision.
3. Families with Children from Asia (FCA) – This grant underwrites a Nov. 12-14 retreat for Chinese adopted teenage girls, increased Chinese heritage programming in a fun and teen-friendly format. Programs included calligraphy, Jianzi, tea-tasting, popular culture in China, Chinese manners/etiquette, cooking classes, kung fu and tai chi. Chinese student volunteers from University of MN to share their insights about contemporary China. FCA’s goal is to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships between their adoptive daughters, the Chinese American community, Chinese international students and adult Korean adoptees. FCA strives to build strong, adoptive intercultural families by providing support, education, and cultural awareness. The first group of adopted children is just now approaching their teen years, a critical time for adopted children to explore their identities. Research with Korean adoptees confirms the importance of providing exposure to Chinese culture and Asian American role models for fostering positive self-esteem and confidence for children adopted from China. In response to this issue, FCA sponsored its first middle school weekend retreat for girls in November 2009. That retreat was modeled after Korean heritage camps and staffed by adult Korean adoptees who are sensitive to adoption issues and Chinese American volunteers. The girls voted to name their retreat Jiemei in reference to the older sister/younger sister mentorship.
4. Minnesota Chinese Dance Theatre (MCDT) – This grant is to support MCDT’s initiative to build a massive and unique cross-cultural exchange program with some of China’s top performing companies. MCDT envisions that the work of this project will increase mutual appreciation and opportunities for the diversity in our communities to integrate. The project will benefit St. Paul’s through: * Strengthening our capacity to serve as an cultural ambassador between St. Paul and China; * Build a bridge of knowledge to connect and link performing entities in both countries * Encourage participation and increase learning opportunities to learn about our culture MCDT will present the China National Broadcasting Chorus in a concert titled, ‘New Silk Road – Friendship Forever’. Established in 1953, China National Broadcasting Chorus is a premiere group in China. Since its establishment, the chorus has produced many most well known musicians such as Nie Zhongming, Teng Shichu, Zhu Chongmao, Wang Kaiping, Fang Chushang and Ying Xumei et al. The chorus has won numerous national and international prizes, recorded several thousands of songs and hundreds of concerts. The chorus is unquestionably the most well-known and beloved professional chorus in China. The Chorus’ top performers include: Wang Feng, lead tenor solo of China Central Opera House, and a National Class One performer. He graduated from Guangzhou Xinghai Conservatory of Music and Zhou Xiaoyan Opera Center; Wang Wei, lead soprano of China Central Opera House and a graduate of China Central Conservatory of Music, is a winner of many national and international contests, including 2nd place in the 6th International Opera Contest (Marseille, France); Beijing Four Brothers, one of the first male quartets in China. Performers are all premiere singers from the China Central Opera House. In the past twenty some years, they have toured in China and around the world; and Li Ling, conductor of China Film Orchestra. He has also conducted other top-level Chinese orchestras such as China Central Orchestra, Shanghai Broadcasting Orchestra and Shenzhen Orchestra.