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Copy of Interview with Nico Li

Asian Dance Final

Gedney Mosher

on 28 June 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Interview with Nico Li

An Interview with Nico Li
Xuexin (Nico) Li
Dance China New York
The Persistence of Following a Dream
The Background
By Gedney Mosher
via E-mail
1. How long have you been dancing?
- as long as I can remember. I started dancing when I was 3 and formal Chinese dance training started when I almost turned 11.

2. What kind of school/training did you need in order to get to the level
you are at now dancing for Dance China New York?
In china typically a 5-year long rigorous training when kids turn 10 - 13 years old.

3. What inspired you/still inspires to dance? What does dance mean to you?
- dance is part of my life. There are reasons beyond words that I can explain. With my experiences touring all around the world have been fulfilling and inspiring. Dance = pure joy/self-discovery/a special media to for me to connect with what's happening around me in this world.

4. What do you like/dislike about what you do as a dancer?
I like the process of creating and getting to someone through movements. I can't think of anything I dislike. There have been moments through my dancing journey that are hard, with fear and doubtfulness but that only made me stronger. So I'm grateful.

5. What is like being a part of a dance team (do you spend a lot of time with your fellow dancers? Are you close with them?)?
- it's been great experience dancing with these talented dancers. The key point is we do work as a TEAM. And always discuss about our programs and performance quality, to listen to the feedback from the audience and promote Chinese culture/history through dance in the United States.

6. What is a typical work week like (in the studio or traveling for dance)?
DCNY tours a lot. And we bring the education programs to the schools in NY and other states as well. Some dance artists are on faculty of NYCCC School of Arts so they also teach dance classes on weekends.
7. How has your experience at Dance China NY been rewarding?
- People love our programs wherever we go. And listen to the audience telling us their thoughts and how fascinated they are by our performance is rewarding.

8. What has been your favorite dance performance as a member of DCNY?
-Chinese New Year Celebration.

9. What kind of dances are you working on right now? Are there any big performances in the near future?
- 1. we'd like to expand our dance group so we're currently recruiting professional dancers to learn and create some new dance pieces. 2. Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage month is around the corner and we'll be performing at venues like Lincoln Center, New Museum Idea City Festival, and many celebration programs all over the city.

10. Have you reached the level of dance that you have always dreamed? What is your ultimate goal with dance?
- I'm delighted and grateful to contribute myself to promote my culture in the United States. I don't have an ultimate goal as a dancer. It's more an experience to me. If people have passion for certain things, everything else will fall into their own places.

11. What advice would you offer to someone considering this career?
-as a career, you need to really really love dance. Here's a quote from a world claimed American choreographer that I think it speaks all: “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive." -- Merce Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009)

12. Is there anything else you would like people to know about what you do?
I serve as a dancer, choreographer and administrator at NYCCC.
-The NYCCC (New York Chinese Cultural Center) founded the company in 1974 as its residing dance company.

-Known as America’s premier traditional Chinese dance company, Dance China NY is centered out of Chinatown Manhattan.

-Styles of dance include traditional Chinese Folk dances (Dragon & Lion dances), Peking Opera, and modern styles.

-The School of the Arts at NYCCC is the only institution in the U.S. to receive the honor of representing the dance curriculum of China’s premier nation dance institute, the Beijing Dance Academy.

-I got into contact with the Artistic director of DCNY, Cathy Hung who directed me to one of the DCNY dancers, Xuexin (Nico) Li. We then communicated via email for the interview.

“…dedicated to deepening the understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture in global and local communities. NYCCC fulfills its mission by offering professional classes, workshops and performances while nurturing creative and innovative new works that reflect the rich cultural heritages and diverse communities of today. NYCCC's core programs aim to support and present artists of the highest caliber and to provide a vital linkage between communities and across generations.”
What I Took From Nico
The Interview with Nico Li
Application and Understanding
-Born and raised in the coastal city Dalian in Northeast China until the age of 3, when she was put in a boarding school.

-At the age of 10, she was accepted out of 3,000 children into the Performing Arts College of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

-After 5 years of intense learning and dancing of Ballet and traditional folk dance, she graduated and began performing for the Qianxian Dance Troupe.

- Nico was persistent in wanting to leave the country and after 2 years of writing to the director, she was permitted to leave China in 2005 and attended Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, a three-year college-level program.

-She then came to the U.S. in 2008 to finish her last year at SUNY Purchase and graduated in 2009 with a major in Choreography and modern dance.

-Nico went to a workshop at SYREN dance theater and soon became one of their modern dance premiere performers, shortly after she joined DCNY and continues to take pride in her Chinese and now Chinese-American culture.


Li, Nico. "Breaking Free." Dance Spirit. 1 Apr. 2011. Web.

Li, Nico. (2013, May 1). Email Interview.

"When I was little, dance was something I did because it was a way to honor my parents. It wasn’t really my decision. But I came to the U.S. because I want to be here, because dancing in NYC is what I want to do. I came here for myself."
- Nico Li
-Strict culture and guilt of leaving country.

-Never lost sight or her persistence and Fierce passion for what she believed in.
Formatting the Interview
I originally wanted to do a phone interview, however DCNY dancers are currently in residency in Maryland.

-Formulating the questions
-Details with respect
-Formality but still light

-Looked up proper courtesy when interviewing via a written e-mail interface.
Life Aspects
Nico was a perfect example of this mission statement for the company.

-Merce quote really spoke to me.

-Today people try to capture feelings and moments and material things.

-When we leave this earth, we're not taking anything with us, it's about the experiences and moments that make it worthwhile.

Question #10 - Reaching your dream/ultimate goal?
-Really gets to root of why we have a drive for something

Passion and work Result
Full transcript