Iny Asian Dance Theater

Group Members: Kaliag Lor, Aeola Lu, Maichia Thao, Pangkou Thao, Sunny Thao, Suekanya Thao, Paqazi Xiong, Joualy Yang, Mai Der Vang, Melinda Xiong, Pather Yang, Valentine Yang

Group Description: Led and Choreographed by Acclaimed Hmong Artist, Iny Xiong, Iny Asian Dance Theater has successfully served more than 120 students annually. Our mission is to broaden students? ability and general public?s appreciation of Asian Dances through teaching and performance. Our 2 major projects are: 1) Bringing the Asian Traditional Dances to Life, with a special focus on Asian Indian, Chinese, Hmong, Laotian and Thai dances through weekly dance classes and community engagement performances; 2) Sharing Asian cultures and talents with mainstream audience to build a better community of appreciation of diverse arts with Annual Recital and newly created Dance Drama Performance series.

Performance description: First Segment - Short Sampling Southeast Asian Dances (total 10 min): Laos Palace Dance (2.5 min); Thai Purple Dance (2.5 min); Hmong Princess Green Dance (2.5 min); Red Bollywood Dance (2.5 min) or Dai Dance; 2nd Segment - Featured Dance from the Silk Road - 1000 Guan Yin Hands Goddess Dance (6 min)

This dance has its roots in the Silk Road region of China, known today as Dunhuang. The Silk Road was a historical network of interlinking silk trade routes, from China to India and Europe. It became the focal point of commerce and religion. Through trade, Buddhism was brought to China from India. The Dunhuang region has many caves, and many contain murals that portray stories of Guan Yin, Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.

Guan Yin vowed to always be the Bodhisattva (meaning Buddha to be) until the last human soul is saved. Despite such commitment, she realized that there were still many unhappy beings yet to be saved. After her struggle to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces, to help her hear the cries of those who suffered. In her attempt to help so many, Goddess of Mercy shattered her two arms into pieces. Once again, she grew thousands of arms, to reach out to those in need, each holding different tools to save people.

This dance showcases the mystical art depicted in the murals of the Dunhuang caves, with a modern twist. It is our hope, to capture the gracefulness of Guan Yin and illustrate dance movements as ONE as MANY.