H.T. Chen & Dancers trace Chinese diaspora in America's South at Williams' '62 Center for Theatre and Dance


WILLIAMSTOWN — Williams Dance Department kicks off the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance's 2016/2017 season Saturday with H.T. Chen's latest work, "South of Gold Mountain."

The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the '62 Center's MainStage, 1000 Main St.

Five members of the Department's resident ensembles — CoDa, Kusika, and Sankofa — will be performing with the H.T. Chen Company, in addition to two local school children.

Chen is returning to Williams with a residency and performance rooted in the images and oral histories of the Chinese who settled in the southern states prior to WWII.

Starting from the diaspora that led the Chinese to the American South, "Gold Mountain" is a collective journey of these individuals. Through the power of faith, tradition, and work ethic, these individuals experienced, endured, and overcame their hardships.

Ticket information is available in person at the Williams '62 Center Box Office — 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — or by phone at (413) 597-2425.

In a related event Friday afternoon at 4 at Jenness House, room 103, The Williams Davis Center (formerly the Multicultural Center) will host author/scholar John Jung, and H.T. Chen & Dancers for a meet-and-greet.

A professor of psychology, Jung is the author of five books focusing on key aspects of the history of Chinese in America. Jung examines history beyond dates and events to highlight the life experiences of Chinese immigrants as a commentary on the larger experience.

"I grew up in Macon, Ga.," says Jung in a news release, "where I was born to Chinese immigrant parents who operated a laundry during the years before the civil rights era. It was difficult for me to understand who I was, ethnically speaking

"Even after we moved to San Francisco, it was still difficult for me to know what it meant to be a Chinese American because I was so different from the San Francisco Chinese who had lived so closely among other Chinese all of their lives

" my books [have come to] share the common goal of exploring how Chinese immigrants, starting from the late 1800s until beyond the middle of the past century, managed to overcome the hostile societal prejudices against Chinese and other 'Orientals.'"

Jung's works include "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers," "Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South," and "Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain."

This afternoon tea and cookies event is free.

For more information, visit 62center.williams.edu


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