Since Bing Crosby danced in the rain and Chaplin tap danced on the wooden floor this discipline has come a long way. From East to West the fusion of so many styles and genres of dance has entertained millions worldwide. This art form was ingrained in dancer / choreographer Shuning Huang since she was six-years old. Taking her love of the art from her native China to the gleaming streets of New York she has made her mark known.
Learning various forms of dance from ballet, jazz, Chinese traditional to modern dance, the latter became her favorite. The one performer that had influenced her the most was Dimitris Papaioannou. He developed a unique style of dance where his approach to the body and how he maximized the visual impact of dance interested her. These disciplines shaped her outlook on dance and its myriad of possibilities. Other artists that played a role in her learning were Martha Graham, Mary Wigman, and Isadora Duncan.
“Modern dance is the style that I discovered allows me to express myself most authentically. Modern dance, for me, is less about rigid structure and more about emotional expression. It doesn’t come with as many constraints and allows for greater freedom of movement and emotion. It’s the style that resonates with me the most in terms of self-expression and creativity.”
As she began to plant her flag in New York and perform at various venues she discovered that her performances in American and China did not vary too much. It was clear as the only difference was how the art was expressed on stage. In her native land there was a calm approach to conveyed emotions and a type of storytelling. Whereas in America there was a more bold and expressive style that allows room to push boundaries and share varied levels of movement and storytelling.
“In terms of the content and themes explored in dance performances, there is a surprising similarity between the two countries. This is because human experiences and the challenges we face in society often transcend geographical boundaries, resulting in shared narratives. However, the distinctive cultural
backgrounds and perspectives of artists in each country do leave their unique imprints on how these themes are approached.”
One of her most favorite performances was her very first titled “Thou?.” It was a highlight for her since it offered her the opportunity to mesh Eastern and Western influences for a diverse audience. It is one of her goals to bridge cultures via dance and to create lasting, meaningful connections along different artistic traditions. She has taken the stage at venues like NY Botanical Garden, Mark O’Donnell Theater, WAXWorks, Culture Lab LIC, the Tank, Dixon Place, Emerging Artists Theater to name a few.
Shuning, as we mentioned is also a choreographer whose first crack at it was on the project “Thou?” she was a part of another three works titled “After” series with the first installment being “After Rain” and a duet titled “Loop” which explored the dynamics of human relationships within a societal context. Recently she performed on September 23rd at the Balance Center showcasing her solo choreography titled “Afterglow”. On October 7th she will be doing a collaboration with sculptures at the Grounds for Sculpture (which is a part of the The Outlet Dance Project) and lastly on November 17th she will be part of a group dance performance titled “To Fold and Unfold” at WADE into ACTIVISM. This piece, choreographed by Eilish Henderson, builds upon a previous duet version that was previously performed at Dancewave and will now be presented as a complete work.
Currently, Shuning is a dancer in the dance group Six Degrees Dance and at the New York Chinese Culture Center. She also teaches dance where she strives to develop a more effective learning environment for her students. A code she lives by is that dance in its purest form is an expression with no boundaries that allows various stars to shine indefinitely. It seems her star is shining brighter with every step she takes.
Website – https://shuninghuang.com/