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Arts Council event to cap weekend

Covington County residents will have an opportunity Sunday to see a first-ever event on two fronts – a performance by the nationally renowned Lily Cai Chinese Dance Com-pany.

It will be Cai’s first Alab-ama performance ever.

“I think that dance is about everyone’s life,” Cai said Tuesday. “A moving body constitutes dance. Think about it. When you laugh, your head is moving. That is dance.”

Cai and her six-member dance company are being brought to the area as part of the Covington Arts Council’s 2010-2011 season.

Cai moved to the U.S. from Shanghai in 1984, she said. Four years later, she established her dance company.

“The longer I live (in the U.S.) the more I realize that people know little about Chinese dance – Chinese food, yes; Chinese dance, no,” she said. “It is so unique. It is very rich. It has such beauty, such feeling. Most people who see it say they have never seen anything like it in their life.”

Most in Covington County have never had the opportunity to see such a performance, which was the exact reason Paula Harr, CAC executive director, leaped at the opportunity to bring the company to the area.

“I had looked at this company for a number of years, but the price was always a little out of reach for us,” Harr said. “This year, the tour was coming through the area and with the help of a grant, we were able to negotiate to bring them to Andalusia.

“This performance is just beautiful to watch,” she said. “Their technical ability is amazing. Even those who may not be into dance will enjoy the esthetic quality and beauty of their movement.”

Described as “Elegant, sensual and captivating,” the Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company “melds ancient Chinese forms with modern dance in an artistic and inventive marriage of styles. The Company bridges the continuum from past to contemporary – from spectacular court dances of Chinese dynasties to contemporary works fusing classical Chinese movement and ballet, complemented by dazzling costumes, original music and multi-media designs.”

The company will also host a workshop for area dancers on Saturday.

“Anytime that someone has the opportunity to see something outside their usual realm of dance experience, it only enhances their appreciation of the art of dance,” Harr said of the local tutorial.

Lily Cai will hit the stage Sunday as part of the Covington Arts Council’s 2010-2011 season. | Courtesy photo

The 2 p.m. performance Sunday at the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Dixon Center will serve as a close to the “Absolutely Andalusia” event. On display in the lobby will be a ribbon sculpture created by Cathy Powell’s gifted and talented students at Andalusia Elementary School.

“We want people to know that arts are alive and well in Andalusia and Covington County, and we’re very proud of it,” Harr said.

That’s also a message that Cai said she hopes to promote through each of her performances no matter their location.

“We want you to enjoy the beauty of happy and to see something different when come see us perform,” Cai said.

This performance of the Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

General admission season tickets are $50 each; $25 for students. Family packages, which consist of two general admission tickets and two student tickets, are $125 for the season.

Tickets are available at Ansley Place or Brooks True Value Hardware and will be available at the door of the night performance for $15 each.