Mei Xuan started learning Erhu when she was only ten years old. After she graduated from Anhui Arts University in China, she performed as the main Erhu player at the Provincial Opera House and produced many soundtracks for movies and TV programs. In 2007, she joined the world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts Company as an Erhu soloist and performed in more than one hundred cities around the world, including Kennedy Center in Washington, Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, and Carnegie Hall in New York. She currently teaches at Northern Academy of the Arts in Middletown, New York.
Christopher O’Neill showed an extraordinary musical talent at a very young age and became a church choir accompanist and organist when he was in high school. After serving a four-year enlistment with the U.S. Air Force during the first Gulf War, he got his bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Wright State University and master’s degree from the Boston Conservatory. Chris studied with many piano virtuosos, including Jackson Leung, Michael Levin, Jonathan Bass and Inna Muravnik. He also earned top prizes in the Irene Tintner International Piano Competition and the H. Wilfred Churchill Piano Competition. He is currently a member of music faculty at Northern Academy of the Arts.
Trinayan Inc. is practicing, preserving and promoting Odissi classical dance form in tri-state areas. It is an arts organization in the lineage of Guru Dev Prasad Das (one of the four revivalists of Odissi dance) formed in 2003 under the artistic direction of Bani Ray to explore the dance form through training, research, workshops and performances.
Indian Dance Form : Odissi
Odissi is one of the eight ancient Indian classical dance forms which was performed in Orissa, north-east of India. Odissi is a sacred ritual dedicated to the Gods of Hindu religion and characterized by sensuousness and lyricism; with movements that reflect the motifs of Orissa temple sculpture. It speaks of love and union between human and divine, an inspiring audience to enchanted worlds.
Indian Dance Piece : Basant Pallavi
Pallavi means blooming. It is a pure dance item in which a raga is elaborated through eye movements, body postures and intricate footwork. It starts with a slow, graceful, lyrical movement of the eyes, neck, torso, and feet and slowly builds in a crescendo to climax in a fast tempo at the end.
Artist Director/ Indian Dancer : Bani Ray
Bani studied Odissi from the most revered gurus, such as Shri Valmiki Banerjee, Guru Durga Charan Ranbir, and Guru Shri Nath Raut. She has performed extensively throughout India and has received numerous scholarships, fellowships and awards for her dance expertise. As a joint director of Nehru Institute of Odissi Research & Training in Delhi, India, she has organized international seminars, symposia and training programs for aspiring young dancers. She is currently a panel artist at Indian Council for Cultural Relations and New Jersey Arts Council.
Indian Dancer : Shefali Ray
Dance, musical theater, and arts have always been a major part throughout Shefali’s life. With her artistic accomplishments, she won an honorable mention at the Princeton University Martin Luther King Jr. art contest. She practiced jazz, ballet, and musical theater at Arts YO University. She was selected by classical dance club called “NATYA” at Rutgers University and got First Place in the inter-college competitions. She is currently studying advanced Orissi dance with Guru Durga Charan Ranbir.
Indian Dancer : Ellora Mohanty
Ellora started to learn ballet at the age of 4, but Odissi dance captivated her heart. She decided to peruse her Odissi practice with Bani Ray and Guru Durga Charan Ranbir (senior guru of Trinayan Inc.). She has been regularly performing with Trinayans annual productions and as a soloist as well. Ellora has won many dance competitions organized by Balaji Temple, NJ. She has recently been invited by Orissa Research Center, Orissa, India to participate in the International Dance Festival and has enchanted the audience.
Indian Dancer : Neha Biswal
Neha is very dedicated and has been religiously practicing and learning Odissi from Bani Ray and Guru Durga Charan Ranbir (senior guru of Trinayan Inc.)., She had also been learning Indian classical music for the last ten years. She won many competitions and awards for her talent and hard work. Her solo performance, Manch Pravesh, at her graduation’s program in 2016 has proven herself as a soloist; and got invited by Dance Organizations in India to showcase her talent. She has been visiting India almost every year, to learn Odissi from senior teachers from Gharana (school) and participating in various programs to excel in Odissi.
Sounds of Korea is the New York-based Korean traditional performing arts group. Korean performance art spans a wide range of styles and settings, from classical court music and theatrical masked dance, to popular story-telling songs, drama and folk percussion and dance. Under the direction of dancer Sue Park the organization has performed and hosted performances of nearly all of these forms at major concert venues, including Lincoln Center and national festival stages.
President/Artistic Director/ Korean Dancer : Sue Yeon Park
Sue Yeon Park learned dance and music from Master Yi Mae-Bang, designated a Living National Treasure by the Government of Korea. She has now been given the titles of yisuja for achieving the highest level of mastery of the salpuri-chum (Shaman ritual dance) and seungmu (Buddhist ritual dance) by the Ministry of Culture of South Korea. She founded Korean Traditional Performing Arts Association to teach young people and to continue performing. In 2004, Sue Yeon Park received the New York State Governor’s Award for Excellence for her contributions to the presentation and preservation of Korean traditional arts. In 2008 Sue Yeon Park was named as a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, the first Korean-American artist to receive this honor.
Associate Director/Korean Dancer : Songhee Lee
Songhee Lee is a dancer specializing in Korean traditional dance. Upon graduating from University of Pusan, Korea, she joined the Pusan Metropolitan Dance Company and became a principal dancer. In 1997, Ms. Lee had her first solo recital in New York City at the Hudson Guild Theater and was reviewed by Jack Anderson from the New York Times and received an award from the Queens Council on the Arts in 2010. Ms. Lee has been actively performing around the world, such as The Greek National Dance Theater, Dora Stratou for the CID UNESCO World Congress on Dance, NEA Montana Folk Festival, International Festival at Chihuahua, Mexico, and the Invited Overseas Artists Performance in Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, Ms. Lee is the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the Songhee Lee Dance Company.
Associate Director/ Korean Dancer : Haesun Jung
Hae Sun Jung has been the president of Korean Traditional Dance Studio in New Jersey. She was a professional dancer with Samsung Dance Company in Korea from 1991 to 1994 after she graduated from college in Korea. She performed at the Korea National Theater for a group of the dance academy. She was awarded the 1st place Minister Prize at a dance competition for the S’alpuri-ch’um by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea. Since 1998, she has been performing countless performances in New Jersey, including The Closter Festival, American Museum of Natural History, 2009 World Trade Fair invited by Korean Tourism Corporation, 2012 Award of the best teacher by Traditional Art Society of Korea, Annual Performance of Korean Traditional Dance Studio and more.
Korean Dancer : Rebecca Hyun-A Lee
Rebecca Hyun-A Lee started dancing when she was 5 years old in Korea and continued her studies at AAAC Korean Drum and Dance in Washington D.C.. She received First Place at the International Folk Competition at the World Bank Special in 2005, performed at the ceremony of Sisterhood of Seoul and Washington D.C., and the Department of Justice Annual Asian-American Month Celebration. She has performed at culturally diverse and celebratory occasions held at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as festivals, including the Richmond Folk Festival and Cross-Cultural Arts Festival.
Korean Dancer : Mihee Kim
Mihee Kim graduated from Kyungsung University in Busan, Korea with a BS in Dance. Ms. Kim was awarded the Second Prize at the 9th dance contest of Keimyung University in 1997, a gold medal at the 2nd dance contest of the Korea Institute of Folk Art in 1997, and the First Prize at the 5th National Dance Contest presented by Korea Dance Association in 1999. Ms. Kim joined Sounds of Korea performance group in 2012 and has participated in several festivals such as Cross-Cultural Arts Festival and Lincoln Center “Out of Doors” Festival.
Korean Dancer : Jeongsoo Park
Jeongsoo Park was born in Busan, South Korea where she finished her high school education at Busan High school of Arts. She continued to earn her BA at Shilla University specializing in traditional Korean dance. To expand her understanding and technique even further she earned her MA at The Sookmyung Women’s University Graduate School of Traditional Arts. As part of her MA, she studied under Professor Jeong Jaeman (Intangible Cultural Asset #27). Under his tutelage, she learned Salpuri-Chum, Taepyungmu, and a Buddhist dance in the Hanyoungsook style. In November 2007 Jeongsoo put on a recital to demonstrate her skill, and her show included a special guest performance from Jeong Jaeman.
Korean Dancer : Hyeji An
Hyeji An is a Korean traditional dancer. She started to learn Korean traditional dance at the age thirteen and pursued her undergraduate degree at Shilla University specializing in traditional Korean dance. She learned Buddhist dance, Salpuri-Chum in Yi Mae-Bang style and Taepyungmu in Kang Sunyoung style.