2018-05-11 / Front Page

Fort Gordon receives lesson in Chinese dance, culture

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Kerry Lee of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company performs a Han folk dance called the “Red Ribbon dance.” In Chinese culture, the color red is a symbol of happiness and is commonly used during celebrations. 
Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Kerry Lee of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company performs a Han folk dance called the “Red Ribbon dance.” In Chinese culture, the color red is a symbol of happiness and is commonly used during celebrations. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office The U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon celebrated Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a command program hosted by the Cyber Protection Brigade May 3 at Alexander Hall.

This year’s theme is, “Walk Together, Embrace Differences and Build Legacies.”

Congress designated May as Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 1992. May was selected to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, of which the majority of workers were Chinese immigrants.

The program featured guest speaker Hwee-Eng Y. Lee, and dancer Kerry Lee of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company.


Kerry Lee of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company performs a Han folk dance titled “Happy Celebration.” During this dance, it is common for dancers to use props including a lantern, handkerchiefs, drum, and silk fans. 
Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Kerry Lee of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company performs a Han folk dance titled “Happy Celebration.” During this dance, it is common for dancers to use props including a lantern, handkerchiefs, drum, and silk fans. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Hwee-Eng, a native of Singapore, started ballet at the age of 6 and eventually became interested in traditional Chinese dance.

By age 16, she was choreographing and teaching Chinese dance techniques in Singapore.

Hwee-Eng immigrated to the U.S. in 1978 where she studied jazz and modern dance while completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics.

She created the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company in 1991, which educates and entertains Atlanta and surrounding areas about Chinese history and culture through the art of dance.

Her company helped put Atlanta in the global spotlight with performers in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics.

Hwee-Eng gave the audience a glimpse into China’s culture through a series of dances. Most people are unaware of how diverse China’s culture is. It consists of 56 ethnic groups; the largest being the Han. Hwee-Eng and her daughter, Kerry, are Han.

“A lot of people think that Chinese dance is about getting people together, holding hands ... however, Chinese dance is being developed after 1949 into a performing arts, so all the pieces are very well-defined just like presenting a piece of art onstage,” Hwee-Eng said.

By understanding Chinese dance, one learns about the country’s history, culture, and customs.

“And also by just speaking, I also incorporate watching, participating, so you get a much better education than just listening or reading online,” Hwee-Eng said.

Her daughter, Kerry, performed four dances: a Han folk dance called “Happy Celebration, a dance representing the minority Tibet called “Tibetan Reba Drum Dance,” a classical Chinese dance incorporating martial arts called “Kung Fu Fan Dance,” and a Han folk dance called the “Red Ribbon dance.”

In an effort to have Soldiers experience the culture for themselves, Hwee-Eng invited several to join her onstage for a couple of dances. In doing so, she said she hoped they gained a better understanding and appreciation of the Chinese.

“I hope that the next time they come across Chinese culture, they’re much more comfortable,” Hwee-Eng said. “Because when you understand the culture, you’ll be more comfortable to communicate with that particular group of people.”

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