Friday, February 12, 2010

The Coconut and the Peach: Choreographic Inspiration

Each week for the next couple of months, Emory dance students choreographing work for the Emory Dance Company spring concert (April 22-24) will blog about their choreographic process and inspiration. First up is Sandra Chan, a junior in the Business School, who is also completing the requirements for a dance minor.

Coming from Hong Kong, I have experienced how different two cultures can be at Emory.

I got my inspiration for my choreography during the international panel at the Goizueta Business School last semester. Dominic Wang, a current MBA student from China, has an interesting and insightful observation: Americans are like peach, while Chinese are like coconut. Americans are very friendly to you, they will say hi whenever they see you, but it is very hard to penetrate their life in a deeper level, like the middle of a peach. Chinese always seem to be in closed groups that are hard to penetrate, as it is very hard to break the shell of a coconut to get the juice. But once you are in the group, you are extremely close to everyone else in the group.

Although this observation is a generalization of the two cultures that Dominic and I are familiar with, and people act so differently within the same culture, it is astonishing to find out how accurate this observation is. At the same time, I find a lot of similarities between a peach and a coconut. They are both fruits that are round in shape and juicy. I believe that we can apply the same logic looking at these two cultures. It really depends on the perspective(s) you have when you look into cultural issues. Through my choreography, I wish that my audience could have the experience to look at cultural issues from these two extremely dissimilar perspectives, and hopefully this experience will have an impact on their life.

-Sandra Chan