Dance

March 23, 2003

Hua Sha Chinese Dance Cente

Information: Xiao Fang Xu, director, 410-381-0270 or www.huashadance.org

For a sample of Asian culture, go no further than the Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center.

Based in Columbia, the center includes a dance school and a performing arts troupe.

Hua Sha, which means Chinese, was founded in 1996 by Xiao Fang Xu, the center's director and choreographer who has danced for 40 years.

"Our mission is to preserve and promote Chinese performing arts and culture, and introduce Chinese culture to [a] new community," said Xu, a two-time winner of an individual artist award from the Maryland State Arts Council. "We want to be a cultural bridge connecting the Eastern and Western cultures."

Born in Shanghai, Xu trained at the Shanghai Dance School in China, specializing in ballet, Chinese classical and folk dance. She danced in 15 countries for the Arts Delegation of China and was one of the dancers who welcomed President Richard M. Nixon during his first state visit to China. In 1985, Xu attended Ohio State University as a visiting scholar and taught at Brigham Young University, then settled in Columbia in 1993.

The touring company has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Walters Art Gallery and Artscape in Baltimore, the Dance Festival sponsored by the Maryland Council for the Arts, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the Columbia Festival of the Arts and at Asian Pacific festivals.

Hua Sha will present its annual performance at 7:30 p.m. May 17 at the Jim Rouse Theatre. The show will feature 10 styles of Chinese dance. "Some are new, some are repeated from past years," Xu said. "But even when I repeat them I change them because the performers change every year."

The program includes the performing arts troupe's 15 to 20 dancers, who will present the traditional Chinese fan dance, ribbon dance, Mongolian dance, Tibet dance, sword dance and the Dun Huang dance, a classical sculpture dance from the Tang Dynasty. Ten students, ages 7 to 9, also will perform a Mongolian dance.

Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 each for seniors and groups of 10 or more.

Eva Anderson Dancers LTD

Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-997-3899.

Eva Anderson Dancers LTD is a regional company that has performed throughout the state, nationally and internationally.

The company incorporates classical modern, classical ballet and classical African-American dance in its works.

"The company's mission is to create and perpetuate dance with special emphasis on African-American dance form," said Eva Anderson, director.

The company has received numerous awards for excellence from many organizations, including the Maryland State Arts Council, Abell Foundation and Bell Atlantic Foundation.

Founded 30 years ago as the Baltimore Dance Theater under the auspices of a neighborhood parents club, it was an after-school program for inner-city youth at Dunbar High School in Baltimore.

After the company incorporated as a nonprofit in 1980, Anderson became director. In residence at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, the company established a yearly season of six to eight concerts that are performed at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Jim Rouse Theatre.

The repertoire includes choreography by Anderson and dance artists Rod Rogers, Eleo Pamare, Elizabeth Keen and Yuli Vazouif. The company also performs commissioned works by renowned composers.

The group has toured in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Germany, Australia and Italy.

Eva Anderson Dancers LTD recently performed its annual spring concert at the Jim Rouse Theatre. It will celebrate the beginning of its 30th season at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 and at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Tickets are $15. Group discounts are available.

Howard County Ballet

3240 Corporate Court, Suite E, Ellicott City. Information: 410-465-8233 or www.howardcountyballet.org

Pushing the limits is part of the rigor of the Howard County Ballet, with dancers performing the company's annual winter concert to live music, strapping on harnesses to simulate flying in Never-Never Land and striving to be their scariest for Halloween productions.

Established in 1995, the Howard County Ballet is a nonprofit organization that includes guest artists and student performers.

The company conducts open auditions for dancers in the Baltimore-Washington area. Based at Aesthetics dance studio, the ballet performs two winter and spring productions each year.

Cinderella will be performed at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. May 31 and at 2:30 p.m. June 1 at the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts in Columbia. The program will feature about 30 student performers ages 3 to adult. Tickets are $18 and $13 for seniors and students

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