Published 08/29/13

Dragon dance team takes third in international competition

SMITHFIELD, R.I.   – Bryant University’s dragon dance team added to its collection of awards by placing third and winning one of three "Most Popular Team" awards at the Hunshan Lujia International Dragon Dance Competition held Sept. 7-8 in China.

This was the team’s second international competition. In 2011, the team traveled to Shanghai for the World Dragon and Lion Dance Competition, where they placed third. As was the case then, the Bryant team was the sole North American team in the tournament, which was held in Kunshan, about 30 minutes outside Shanghai.

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 New England since October 2009.

Bryant is home to what is believed to be the only university-sponsored dragon dance team in the United States, 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 team’s first stop after departing the United States Aug. 31 was Wuhan, where they spent several days training and drilling with their coach, Prof. Kai Hu, who helped launch Bryant's team during a faculty exchange in 2009. Hu, who teaches at China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, is a certified Kung Fu master and coached her own CUG dragon dance team to the No. 1 spot in a past tournament. While in Wuhan, the Bryant students also visited a high school to share information about Bryant with Chinese students who plan to study in U.S. colleges.

The Bryant competitors were:

  • Benjamin Heinemeyer ’14 of Bethel, CT
  • Casey Jones ’16 of San Jose, CA
  • Chabeli Florian ’14 of Providence, RI
  • Harris Roberts ’14 of Farmington, ME
  • Lei Qin ’14, of Sichuan, China
  • Margaret Wong ’14 of Houston, TX
  • Ryan Tengler ’14 of Boxford, MA
  • Sarah Falco ’16, of Middletown, MD
  • Serena Cosenza ’16 of Roslindale, MA
  • Yijia Yang ’14 of Shanghai, China