Phoenix Dance Chamber is a Chinese dance school and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which offers classes to students of all ages, and performs Chinese dance in a variety of venues. Our mission statement is to create opportunities for all individuals and communities in the State of Hawaii to celebrate, share, and sustain the vitality of Chinese folk, ethnic minority and classical dance and arts for present and future generations including through dance instruction, performance, and cultural exchange.
The chamber was first established by Diane Letoto in 1989 when she was a Dance Ethnology student at the University of Hawaii. Liu Youlan, Chinese Ethnic Minority Folk Dance Specialist from the Beijing Dance Academy became an artist in residence for the bicentennial and became Diane's mentor. Diane fell in love with the nuances and diversity of Chinese dance. She and a group of UH students became the original Phoenix Dance Chamber, which existed under the umbrella nonprofit Hawaii Foundation for Chinese Culture and Arts. Shortly after, PDC expanded to include keiki classes which grew into a curriculum of multiple levels based on that of the Beijing Dance Academy. Diane retired in 2012 and Ivy Hsu took over as artistic director, establishing Phoenix Dance Chamber as its own nonprofit 501(c)(3) in 2016. Read the attached document for more about the history of PDC.
Chinese dance consists of three or four main genres: classical, Han folk dance, ethnic minority dances, and Chinese contemporary/modern dance. We hope that our members can gain three main things from engaging in our activities: a better understanding of the cultural diversity of Chinese dance, increased confidence in expression through movement, and a sense of group responsibility. We also do not discriminate based on ethnic background, religion, age or gender, although sometimes certain dances culturally call for expressions of religion, gender, or age. For instance, the Uyghurs of Xinjiang Province are Muslims, and in learning their style of dance, we learn that there are religious reasons for certain movements, and certain movements are restricts to males or females. Finally, we do not affiliate ourselves with any particular political view of China and we do respect all views, however we are supportive of the preservation of ethnic minority cultures.
Classical, Han folk dance, Ethnic minority dances, Chinese contemporary/modern dance
501(c)(3) nonprofit org