The UCLA Chinese Cultural Dance Club (CCDC) was founded in February of 2000 by UCLA alumnae Kelley Lee, Nancy Lu, and Cheery Yen in conjunction with UCLA alumna Josephine Louie. Under the tutelage of Artistic Director Louie, the UCLA Chinese Cultural Dance Club offered free dance classes to the UCLA community with the vision of sharing Chinese culture through dance. During its inaugural year, the club drew just five members. These members took their love for dance and began to perform in outreach events to the UCLA community and the greater Los Angeles area, aiming to fulfill the club’s vision.
Lotus Steps, the club’s annual dance showcase, was originally conceived to be a free, professional level, cultural event to which UCLA students and local patrons could attend. The show was designed to carry on the tradition of the club and its mission statement of “sharing Chinese culture through dance” on a yearly basis. With fifteen performers, two completed dance pieces, and a single act, the first Lotus Steps in November of 2000 had modest beginnings. Performed in UCLA’s Northwest Campus Auditorium, it was the club’s first major performance. As the years passed, the evolution of the club and Lotus Steps surpassed everybody’s expectations.
As membership increased and more dance classes were offered, it became difficult for Louie to shoulder the load. In October of 2001, Jessica Lee, an award winning performer and choreographer, joined the UCLA Chinese Cultural Dance Club as a freshman at UCLA and began choreographing her own dance pieces for the club. The duo of Louie and Lee provided a spark for the club, enabling it to produce both quality and quantity.
In the summer of 2002, Josephine invited six young girls, ages seven to twelve, to participate in the club and Lotus Steps. All six girls were from Families with Children from China (FCC), an organization that provides a support network for families who have adopted children from China. Since then, a wonderful collaboration has been formed between the two organizations along with programs such as the “Big/Little Program” through which college level members in the club mentor the younger children from FCC.
The UCLA Chinese Cultural Dance Club currently stands at a membership of sixty. An average of ten performances per year are put on around UCLA and the surrounding Los Angeles community. Lotus Steps has grown so large that it is now held at UCLA’s prestigious Royce Hall, which seats 1,818 audience members.The production features pieces that borrow from classical, contemporary, ethnic, folk, and martial arts dance styles. With the success of Lotus Steps, CCDC has also been given the opportunity to perform at numerous outside performances.
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