Chuan, XiaoChuan Xie (pronounced shee-OU choo-AH, SHEE-eh), was born into a wonderfully loving and protective family in Nanjing, China in 1987 under the only-child policy.
She had a very busy childhood, during which she spent many hours a day in gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics training.
When Chuan was eleven years old, her mother sent her to a military-based boarding school to study ballet. From then on, Chuan was strongly devoted to becoming a professional dancer. For the next decade, she intensely worked through many strenuous physical and mental challenges as she trained rigorously in Russian ballet and Chinese Red Army dance. Upon graduation, she was chosen to join one of the most prestigious Red Army companies in China. Chuan soon gained many honors in the field, including winning First Prize in both the People’s Liberation Army and numerous other national dance competitions. She also performed for two Chinese Presidents.
However, in spite of her amazing accomplishments, Chuan was not happy. She felt lost and confused about her self-identity and life purpose. Sensing something essential and important was missing, she began her quest to discover it.
Chuan first found what she was looking for when she discovered modern dance… an art form that freed the body and mind, liberated the soul, and emphasized the individual’s uniqueness. Fascinated and excited by her newfound artistic passion, she thought, “This is what dance is truly about!” Coincidentally, the Martha Graham Dance Company came to China for the very first time, and Chuan flew to Beijing to observe the performance. She was electrified by the powerfully dramatic way that strong troupe of women expressed the anti-war message in “Chronicle”, a work Martha Graham choreographed and first performed in 1946 in response to the horrors of World War II.
In 2009, Chuan moved to New York City to pursue her modern dance dream. Upon first arriving, she studied at the Martha Graham School. Shortly thereafter, she was invited to be an apprentice dancer in the company. From then on, she emerged in Martha Graham’s world, studying and performing her repertoire and learning American culture from Graham’s life and work. Chuan toured with the company nationally and internationally, performing at many historically renowned theaters around the globe. At the same time, she was invited to various shows and festivals as a guest artist, and also worked with numerous choreographers and directors, such as Robert Wilson, Lar Lubovitch, Yung Yung Tsuai, Annie B. Parson, Stijn Celis, Tony Fabre, Andrea Miller, to name a few. During that period, Chuan received many rave reviews across the country and abroad. The New York Times called her the “scene stealer”, and Dance Magazine featured her on the cover of the November 2013 issue. Chuan was nominated for the Clive Barnes Award as one of the most promising young performers in the field in 2014, and Dance Magazine honored her again by naming her one of the “Best Performers of 2015″.
This period of professional success was accompanied by great personal fulfillment and happiness when Chuan met her husband Kyle in New York City. They married in 2014. Kyle is also involved in the arts. He specializes in fine plasters and finishes, working on major architectural projects around the world and for luxury clients within the high fashion industry. Their union has brought about many artistic collaborations, which have been shown in Brooklyn, N.Y., Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Roxbury, N.Y. and Mt. Gretna, P.A.
Chuan went on to a starring role on Broadway in the 2015 revival of “The King and I”, playing the iconic dancing role of Eliza. This performance gained her a Fred Astaire Award nomination.
However, the intensity of performing eight shows a week took a deep physical and mental toll, and Chuan temporarily left the show in order to recover. Always being one to make the best of difficult times, Chuan started studying connections between the physical body and the emotional state. She soon discovered that a lot of modern day physical pains and discomforts are derived from emotional imbalance. Childhood traumas and the everyday challenges of adult life leave significant negative impressions on our minds and bodies. They affect our posture, habits and movements. Conversely, positive thoughts, healthy habits, and freedom of movement can help create a more stable, calm and balanced emotional and physical state. By studying Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s Body-Mind Centering, and Daria Halprin’s movement-based expressive arts therapy, and with the help of many magical hands of physical therapists and acupuncturists, Chuan was able to return to the show in just two months. The body-mind connection rocked her world! It was a revelation that changed her life completely. Today, Chuan is thrilled to be benefiting others by sharing the therapeutic value of moving and thinking openly, mindfully and creatively.
Chuan is a Certified Movement Analyst, having completed her training at the Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. Her practice draws upon a wide variety of disciplines, including Laban Movement Analysis, Somatics, Meredith Monk’s voice ensemble work, modern dance, visualization, movement therapy, guided improvisation, and music…making sessions and classes creative, therapeutic and joyful. Why not start changing your life by contacting her today?
Check out her Private Training sessions.
Contact Chuan: Chuan@Spec-Chuan.com; 347-725-5998.
Illustrated by Kei Tsuruharatani. Photo by Kuo-Heng Huang.
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