Arts Education Artist Page

Shuling Fister

Dance

Shuling Fister is a Chinese dance instructor and performer from Lexington, Kentucky. She has had a great passion for dance all of her life. She received her dance training and continues her dance development with professional master instructors in China. Since 2004, Shuling has been actively engaged in cultural activities and has been offering Chinese dance classes and performing across the state. She also gives workshops at schools, libraries, and teacher academies. Students in her class are taught with current professional Chinese dance course curriculum and materials.

Shuling’s objectives during her classes are to provide a professional and entertaining experience for the students. Over the years the dances performed by Shuling and her students in Chinese New Year Celebrations, at festivals and cultural exchange programs have exposed numerous audiences to Chinese culture, leaving them with a warm and positive experience. Her dance classes and performances utilize authentic costumes, and props such as fans, handkerchief, ribbons, umbrellas, and other culturally significant items.

Potential Residency Project

The goal of this project is to expose students to the diversity of Chinese culture through dances. The five to ten day project will be suitable for students grade K to 12. The related Academic Expectations and combined curriculum of the Kentucky Core Content for Arts and Humanities will be addressed through the entire project.

The first component of this project will start by briefly introducing Chinese ethnic groups. Students will be provided with basic information regarding the different ethnic groups in China and relate this to the students’ understanding of ethnicity and minorities in the United States. The cultural background will cover components describing some of the many ethnic minority groups such as Mongol, Dai, Yi, Miao, and Uyghur as well as the majority Han. The cultural identity aspects of the groups that are discussed will typically include the foods, music, dress, agricultural and social practices that the ethnic group self identifies as unique.

The second and main focus component of this project will utilize a dance to express characteristics of the focused Chinese ethnic group. The instructor will demonstrate a dance of the focus ethnic group and encourage students to compare Chinese dances to Western dances. The selected dance will be taught to the entire class. Students will learn the elements that are common between Chinese dances and other cultural dances. Each ethnic dance has its own format and steps that may associate with its cultural significance. Students will also participate in improvising dance as a small group or as an individual. They are encouraged to ask questions during and after the lessons. Class teachers will always be present in the classroom to assist the artist with instructions. Parents will receive the artist’s handout that introduces the project purpose and what their child will learn about Chinese ethnic culture and associated Chinese folk dances.

Typically, it will require between one to two days covering both components of study for each dance, and the final day will be lesson review, recital, and performance. A copy of dance instruction will also be given to the class teacher for future continued study. At the end of this project, assessments will be evaluated; parents and teachers will be invited to the students’ public performance.

This project can also be incorporated into social studies and Chinese language class. Chinese mandarin will be used during the classes. Students will learn Chinese words such as: numbers for steps counting; directions as front, left, back and right, up and down; body parts from head to foot; props’ names, dance patterns and styles.