In each issue of STEPS, we feature one of our awesome volunteers. This time we shine our spotlight on Xi Zhu!
How did you first find out about Dance Parade?
I was introduced by John Dalton, Managing Director of Dance Parade at the DanceNYC Symposium2017 in March. Since I am an enthusiastic dance fan, the idea that people dance and celebrate together in the streets annually at the culture and art hub: New York City fascinated me.
What is your current role in Dance Parade, Inc.?
My current role in Dance Parade, Inc. is Chair of China Committee. I was astonished to find that due to language and culture barriers, Chinese dance groups have much less engagement with this event as compared to other communities in New York, even though many of them have long histories and have made great contributions to the art and education among the Chinese here. Hence I established China Committee to promote this event to Chinese dancers and dance groups in New York, for the hope that the speedy growing Chinese dance groups will merge into the diversity of dance in the city, and in return, enrich themselves by sharing and learning from other art forms and cultures.
What is your favorite style of dance to watch? To participate in?
My favorite dance style to watch is ballet. Watching classical ballet in a theater is full of sensational enjoyments, from spectacles, orchestra, to the customs and dance itself. My favorite style to participate is the more social and expressive Latin dance. Among which the emotional Rumba and passionate Cha Cha are on top of my list.
What is your dance background or interest in dance?
I started ballroom dance when I was In China 8 years ago, where I won the third place of the citywide ballroom competition. Ever since I moved to America, I began ballet training under professional instructions. Currently I am a student at Ballet Arts of City Center.
What does this year’s theme “Dance for Peace” mean to you?
Dance brings me to the full awareness of body and the peace in heart. I can either lost myself into the graceful flow of whole body movements via ballet, or plunge into the intricate steps and various music styles of Latin dance. Dance reminds me of the physical limits as a human being, yet releases my mind to endless imaginations. It guides me to focus in the moment and hence always gives me a peaceful state of mind.
What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade?
I look forward to seeing a great variety of traditional Chinese dance in the parade this year. So far the size of Chinese registrations has been tripled as compared to last year, among which many groups have the experiences of performing on stage dragon dance, lion dance, folk dance, and peacock dance, etc. Though I am not sure exactly what they will bring to Dance Parade this time, there must be a stunning combination of assorted Chinese elements in the procession.
If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival…. which would it be?
I hope it would be my motherland, China.
Volunteering at a non-profit organization can at times be daunting and frustrating with limited personnel and limited funding…. what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more?
During my outreach to Chinese dance groups, I received tremendous positive feedback. Some of them said, this is a very interesting event; some responded you did the right thing. The thing that keeps me coming back is the support of these groups, from both their words and actions.