Limón Dance Company, in Colin Connor's "Corvidae" Photo: Christopher Duggan
Limón Dance Company, in Colin Connor's
X

The Dance Enthusiast's A to Z: X is for XiaoChuan Xie and Xan Burley

XiaoChuan Xie
Xan Burley

XiaoChuan Xie

Biography

XIAOCHUAN XIE, a.k.a. Chuan, is a Chinese-born dancer/interdisciplinary artist who is currently pursuing an M.S. in Dance/Movement Therapy at Sarah Lawrence College. She holds a B.A. from SUNY Empire State College and is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst. Chuan is a Clive Barnes Award and Fred Astaire Award nominee for her excellent performances in Martha Graham Dance Company and The King and I on Broadway. Dance Magazine named her one the “Best Performers of 2015." After dancing professionally for 13 years, she decided to pursue an independent career as an interdisciplinary artist and creative arts therapist. Chuan is the 2017-18 awardee of Queens Council on the Arts’ artist commissioning program.

Head shot: Jade Young

Dance shot: Kuo-Heng Huang

 

 

Xan Burley

Biography

XAN BURLEY is a creator, performer, and teacher formerly based in Brooklyn, NY and currently an MFA Teaching Fellow at Smith College. Her choreographic work with partner Alex Springer has been presented in NYC and elsewhere by the American Dance FestivalJacob’s Pillow Inside OutCenter for Performance ResearchMovement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace Project’s DraftWork series, and MATA Interval at the Museum of the Moving Image, among others. Their work has been supported through residencies by A.P.E., the Marble House Project, University Settlement, Cultivate NH, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and other institutions. They received the Emerging Artist Alumni Award in 2015 from their alma mater, the University of Michigan. Xan has been on faculty at Gibney, the University of Maryland, Purchase College, 92Y, USDAN, and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, among others. She performed extensively with Doug Varone and Dancers from 2012-2017 in addition to her performance work with artists such as Shannon GillenShannon Hummel, and Tami Stronach. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2007 with degrees in Dance and English.  

Head shot: courtesy of the artist

Dance shot: Francisco Graciano

1

My earliest memory of dancing : _______________

Xie :

On stage was when I was eleven years old.

Burley:

Captured on my family’s one and only home video. I was in a ballet piece and a tap piece. My tutu converted to a bustle. I can already see my neuroses forming in the video. I can also see my excitement and joy.

2

What was the light bulb moment when you realized you were going to be a dancer?

Xie :

When I studied dance in the boarding school in Nanjing, China, I knew that I needed to dance. The power of expressing through the body is wordless.

Burley:

I can’t recall any kind of epiphanic moment that led me to pursue dance in earnest. I took my sixth grade year off and missed it deeply. Dancing was simply always a part of my psychic space. It occupied my every thought and movement. I have been inspired by countless performers, pieces, and artists – it is impossible to pinpoint any one inspiration. I had remarkable teachers as well, who cultivated not only my technique, but also my longing for dancing.

3

What gives you energy?

Xie :

Body wisdom.

Burley:

Humor – laughter – especially the kind shared with close, dear friends and family. I’ve always delighted in those moments right before a performance begins, when we’re all gathered and giddy, working through our nerves with comedy and camaraderie.

4

A perfect day includes____________

Xie :

somatic work.

 

Burley:

my son and partner and whatever adventure compels us on that particular perfect day.

5

What event (dance-related or not) has transformed you?

Xie :

Learning to use my voice with movement.

Burley:

I did a writing retreat my last semester of undergrad that was truly transformative. We gave over our electronic devices and spent six weeks reading, writing, gathering over meals, philosophizing, making art, and inhabiting the woods. It brought me to my body in a new and different way.

6

What is/are your favorite dance move(s)?

Xie :

Tap dance.

 

Burley:

I find that my habits tend toward unfurling arms and floating leg actions. And I like the pelvis as an initiating agent. But I am also interrogating my habits, prohibiting their input and embracing them when it works.

7

The most expressive part of the body is _________

Xie :

the torso.

Burley:

There is no one part more expressive than another. Each part has its nuanced potential. The interior expresses as fully as the exterior.

8

What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far?

Xie :

Performing “the chosen one” in The Rite of Spring by Martha Graham at the Acropolis, Greece.

Burley:

Giving birth to my son.

9

What is your life’s motto?

Xie :

Keep up the dancing!

Burley:

Empathy is essential to a life well lived.

10

What is your most treasured possession?

Xie :

My body and mind.

Burley:

An heirloom piece of jewelry that was my grandmother’s and my mother’s before it was mine.

11

What is your favorite post-performance meal?

Xie :

Ramen.

Burley:

I wish it were something healthy and healing, but I love a good burger and beer after a performance.

12

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you like to go?

Xie :

Morocco.

Burley:

It’s the dead of winter in the Northeast with temperatures below freezing, so I’ll say Hawaii. But there are many, many places I’d love to see.

13

I question_______.

Xie :

capitalism.

Burley:

I question not questioning.

14

_____________ is overrated.

Xie :

Hollywood films

Burley:

Flexibility is overrated. Physical flexibility, that is.

15

My greatest influence(s) is/are______.

Burley:

my partner Alex Springer, my peers, my collaborators, my teachers, those I have performed for and worked with, and now my little one.

16

If I could switch careers I would be a _______.

Xie :

psychiatrist.

Burley:

archaeologist. I love meticulous work like that. And dinosaurs.

17

I would like to learn to ____________.

Xie :

play piano like a rock star.

Burley:

play the ukulele. I’ve been trying to learn for years.

18

One of the jobs/projects I most enjoyed was _______ because______.

Xie :

Performing in Yasuno Miyauchi’s vocal ensemble because I enjoyed the freedom of my body and voice on stage.

 

Burley:

Dancing for Doug Varone, because I performed with my dearest friends in work that whirled me, always took me by surprise, and challenged my assumptions about myself as an artist and person.

19

One of my favorite artists (dead or alive) dance or otherwise is ________

Burley:

I have too many favorite dance artists. One of my favorite literary artists is Margaret Atwood. She steals me away into secret, speculative worlds that thrill me.

20

I am looking forward to ________

Xie :

exploring more possibilities of my expression.

Burley:

finishing graduate school!


 

The Dance Enthusiast's A to Z Celebrates our 10th Anniversary by Highlighting People Who Power The Dance World.
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