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UNC student group performs dance with silk and style

Flying Silk Chinese Dance Group
Flying Silk Chinese Dance Group

Flying Silk, which was founded at UNC in February 2013, is the only dance group at UNC dedicated to this style of dance.

Members of the group work on exploring other types of dance and incorporating them into more traditional choreography in unique ways.

This semester, the group is preparing to perform a new Mongolian dance piece.

“It’s different from other dance groups because we are really expanding ourselves to different styles of dance, especially Asian cultures,” said Anne Lee, a freshman business major.

“We try to keep it as traditional as possible with the costumes and the types of dance that we do.”

Flying Silk dancers compare their style of dance to ballet — and they wear ballet slippers to perform — but their performances stand out because of the ribbons.

Marissa Liu, the captain of Flying Silk, said no one on the current team has any professional experience, which makes it easy for new or inexperienced dancers to quickly pick up the choreography with the rest of the team.

Flying Silk added seven new students to its team following auditions on Tuesday and a series of workshops for aspiring members on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15. Four of the new members are men, making this the first time the Flying Silk team has included men.

Liu said holding workshops before tryouts allows people with little or no dance experience to learn and improve their abilities, or simply just have fun.

“We kind of combine a bunch of different dance forms — mostly ballet — and there’s a feel of martial arts in there sometimes,” Liu said.

“We put together different elements and different textiles, and try and make it in our own way, but at the same time, keep it true to our own culture.”

Lee said that although Flying Silk only performed once in the fall semester, the group will be stepping up its game and participating in five performances this spring, one of which will be held on campus for a Chinese Undergraduate Student Association event celebrating the Chinese New Year on Feb. 20.

The group will also branching out to perform at venues in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill throughout the next few months.

Flying Silk’s next performance will take place on Jan. 31 in Raleigh for the Triangle Area Chinese American Society of North Carolina’s celebration of the Chinese New Year at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh.

“A lot of our members are seniors and will be leaving this year,” said Seraphina Wong, a freshman biology major who joined Flying Silk in the fall.

“I’m excited to have new members to get to know and help them learn traditional Chinese dancing, help them grow as dancers.”

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