Bryant University's Dragon Dance Team
About the Dragon Dance Team
Bryant University’s Dragon Dance Team is a student performing arts group for the traditional Chinese performance art: dragon dance. The team was founded in September 2009. The Dragon Dance Team has publicly performed numerous times since our inception and has also become an official Bryant student organization. Bryant 's Dragon Dance Team has three dragons that are used for performances. Two of the dragons are 54 feet long with nine bamboo poles for each position of the dragon from head to tail. The third dragon is the smaller dragon, with only five bamboo poles for each position. For each dragon, there is also one separate pole for the dragon ball which leads the dragon throughout the dance.
Dragon dance is typically performed during the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. Dragon dancing mimics the fluid movements of the mythical Chinese dragon through careful and quick synchronization of the dragon’s body through various actions and positions. These movements symbolize the power and dignity of the dragon.
Head Coach: Professor Hu Kai
Professor Hu Kai is the head coach of Bryant’s Dragon Dance Team. Professor Hu is a professor of physical education at Chinese University of Geosciences (CUG) in Wuhan, China. She also coached the CUG dragon dance team and led the team to win championships at international competitions. Professor Hu is also a master of Taiji and Wushu martial arts. She served as an official judge at the 2008 Wushu Tournament in Beijing which was showcased alongside the Beijing Olympic Games.
Dragon Dance in the News
In August 2015, Bryant University's Dragon Dance Team traveled to China to compete in the eighth China Collegiate Dragon and Lion Dance Competition in Xuzhou, China. The team won the gold medal in the "Best Performance" category. Along with their gold medal, two members of Bryant's Dragon Dance Team, Abby Teichert '16 and Alyssa Lee '18, were both awarded the "Sportsmanship Award".
On September 8th 2013, the Bryant Dragon Dance Team traveled to China and won third place and "Most Popular Team Award" in Lujia International Dragon Dance Competition, in Kunshan, China. The team was also reported by several TV and news outlets in China. Established in 2009, Bryant's team is believed to be the first university dragon dance team in the U.S. and was the only team from North America in the competition. Members of the team shared their experience in China on this blog.
On September 24, 2011, the University's dragon dance team placed third in an international competition held in Shanghai, China. Team members who traveled to China for the competition maintained a blog on their experience.
Performances in Schools and Communities
What Members Have Said
Alyssa Lee, Marketing Major '18, United States
"Dragon dance has been a wonderful opportunity in that I have been able to perform for many events like WaterFire and the on-campus event i2i. I cannot express how thankful I am to all of the members who I have learned dragon dance from as a freshman and those who I have taught as an upperclassman. Being on the team made me realize how important it is to pass on traditions from one generation to another, and what it means to have a team so close they are like family. I cannot imagine what my college life would be like if I had not had the dragon dance family with me, and with them I have created memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Anita Huang, International Business Major '19, United States
"What I love most about our dragon dance team is that we are a family. We help each other out not only during practices, but whenever any one of us has a problem. We work hard together to always put on the best show we can for our audience and we share the joys when our audience is pleased by our performance. Every one of us has a very different personality and somehow when these come together, we can make a great team that is filled with energy, laughter, and lots of love."
Lauren Lo, Accounting Major '20, United States
"I joined the Dragon Dance club because it gave me a chance to learn and understand more about my culture. I enjoy being part of such a supportive and friendly team. Performing together generates a sense of trust and unity with my teammates, which is what I love about this club. The opportunity to travel to China and compete is something I was not expecting from my college career, but it is an adventure I am excited to experience with this team."
Chiyun Li, International Business Major ’12, China
"Dragon dance is a traditional form of dance that is performed during special occasions, including New Year celebrations. While studying abroad in the United States, I never expected that I would be a member of the Bryant Dragon Dance Team. It has been a great opportunity for me to learn and practice a traditional part of my Chinese culture. The best part of this experience was learning dragon dance from Wushu Master, Coach Kai Hu. She is the youngest Wushu Master in China and was even a judge during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She is a fun loving person and every member of our team enjoyed learning from her. I am very proud of our team and happy that we are so diverse. We have members from countries all over the world and it has been great to come together to learn something new about Chinese culture."
Alicia Kennedy, International Business Major ’12, United States
"As a student intern at the US China Institute, I have been learning a lot about the Chinese culture this semester. When the opportunity to learn dragon dance presented itself, I just couldn’t say no, especially since I was going to learn from a professional, Kai Hu, who has coached, judged, and competed in Dragon Dance competitions in China for many years. The team started out small, but quickly grew in size. For almost two weeks we practiced nightly just to learn the basics. I have to be honest; I never thought it would be so difficult! It takes skill, patience and true teamwork and cooperation to perform. The experience has been truly rewarding. I have learned something new, particularly about the Chinese culture. In addition, I have made some wonderful friendships with students from all classes and a variety of cultures. I am so proud to be a member of the Dragon Dance Team and I am looking forward to future performances and learning more from Kai Hu in her next trip to Bryant!"
Varishensagar Shah, International Business Major ’12, India
"The dragon dance was one of the most unique experiences for me here at Bryant. At first I used to keep wondering what could be the most interesting thing I could do in my years at college. The dragon dance is definitely at the top of the list. It was an experience for me to learn the cultural dance of another country and I look forward to trying to get the grant and go to China to do the dance there, competing against the best!"
Rohan Laungani, Actuarial Mathematics Major ’12, Nigeria
"When I first heard about the Dragon Dance team applications, I was curious about what it was and I didn’t think that I would have time for it. My friend Victoria told me that she was joining it and I should come along and check it out with her. When I first met Professor Hu and we did some activities together as a team, I started to have a lot of fun. I eventually set aside time from my busy schedule for the team. I am really excited about our competition this summer in China. I had a great time learning some of the martial arts moves through the dragon dance. I really miss Professor Hu and I have had a great experience with the team and I am encouraging others to join it too."
For More Information
Follow the Dragon Dance Team on social media!
The Bryant Dragon Dance Team is happy to consider performance invitations from organizations at Bryant and local communities to bring this special aspect of Chinese culture to a broader audience.
Mr. Kongli Liu
Ms. Colleen Balk