Published 09/26/11

Dragon dance team brings medal home

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  (Sept. 26, 2011) -- The University's dragon dance team came home from the World Dragon and Lion Dance Competition, held Sept. 23-25 in Shanghai, with a third-place finish. The two-year-old Bryant team was the only North American group competing in the tournament.

Established in September 2009, Bryant's dragon dance team combines athleticism and artistry to bring serpentine life to a 54-foot-long tube of fabric that trails a highly-decorative dragon head. The team has performed throughout Rhode Island since October 2009.

The two-year-old team was the only North American group competing in the international tournament.

For three days before the competition, the Bryant team rehearsed and drilled at China University of Geosciences (CUG) in Wuhan  with their coach, CUG Prof. Kai Hu, who helped launch Bryant's team during a faculty exchange in 2009. Hu teaches physical education, is a certified Kung Fu master, serves on the board of the World Dragon and Lion Dance Competition, and coached her own CUG dragon dance team to the No. 1 spot in a past tournament.

Bryant is home to what is believed to be the country's only university-sponsored dragon dance team, according to Kongli Liu, assistant director for academic programs at the University's U.S.-China Institute. "Most dragon dance teams in the United States are sponsored by Chinese-American cultural organizations," said Liu, the team's assistant coach. "We know of no other American college or university that sponsors its own. Bryant students have embraced this opportunity to experience Chinese culture and enhance cultural diversity on campus."

The Bryant competitors were:

  • Alicia Kennedy '12 of Burlington, Conn.
  • Samir Kothari '12 of Mumbai, India
  • Marcia Chong '12 of Milford, Conn.
  • Varishensagar Shah '12 of Ahmedabad, India
  • Margaret Wong '12 of Fremont, Calif.
  • Bakhtiyar Baidaralin '12 of Cranston, R.I.
  • Fan Zhou '12 of Tianjin, China
  • Anmei Zheng '13 of Riverside, Conn.
  • Christopher Neale '10 of Wuhan, China