Honoring an instructor through dance

Photo by: Kevynn Gomez

Jimmy Hao, dance instructor, director and choreographer for the City Dance Concert, observes Jorge Torrecillas as he practices during his ballet class on April 22.

Story By: Kevynn Gomez, Rampage Reporter

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“One Man’s Long March” means many things for Jimmy Hao, Fresno City College’s dance instructor and choreographer of the spring City Dance concert premiering on April 25.

The concert serves as an homage to Hao’s extraordinary past growing up under the Communist regime in China. The performance title is an allusion to a year-long march of Communist troops, and also underscores the political and social atmosphere he experienced in his youth. It also references his personal accomplishments as well as the journey and growth he has had with students in preparation for the spring concert.

City Dance is a biannual event, with a workshop taking place each fall semester, and a concert occurring each spring semester. This year’s concert will celebrate the life and work of Hao himself, with the dance instructor using his own directorial skills and choreography to create a unique experience.

“One Man’s Long March” will be comprised of 11 pieces ranging from classical Chinese dance and classical ballet to jazz and contemporary dance. Chinese ribbon dancing and fan dancing will also be included.

“This concert is kind of like East meets West on the same stage,” Hao said.

As much as he enjoys the distinctive dance styles created in his home country, he enjoys much of the work that has come out of America and Europe as well. This year’s City Dance will blend Chinese styles, such as folk dance, with classical ballet and American contemporary and modern.

“I’m a classical man. I like classical. But I also like to explore the new styles,” Hao said.

Adjunct FCC dance instructor Cristal Tiscareno is working alongside Hao to prepare dance pieces for the April 25 premiere.

She said she is happy to collaborate on the spring concert in her “resetting” of some of his pieces. Tiscareno taught a previously created dance, “Song to the Moon,” to students for this performance.

“I felt this would be a fun and interesting experience for the students and faculty,” Tiscareno added.

In regards to her involvement with Hao’s personal concert, Tiscareno is only positive.

“The Fresno audience is fortunate to have Jimmy’s artistic talent as part of the dance community network,” she said.

FCC student and City Dance performer Rebecca Sano enjoys working with Hao in their journey towards a performance that is a semester in the making.

“He wants to bring out the best in all of us. He gives us pep talks all the time,” she said.

“One Man’s Long March,” directed and choreographed by Jimmy Hao, will premiere at the FCC Theatre on April 25 at 7:30 and will run until April 28. For tickets, contact the FCC Theatre box office. Tickets cost $12 for students, $14 for general admission and $8 for a group rate.

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