Linxin Li knows all about being in the spotlight. After four years of dance performances, specialized curriculum and endless opportunities, University of Dayton’s first-ever dance major will be taking her final bow as an undergraduate student.
Li, an international student from China, is no stranger to the world of dance. Prior to college, she attended a dance boarding school and worked for a dance company in China. When she arrived at UD, Li began as a psychology major while taking ballet on the side. Her direction quickly changed.
“An artist resident from Dayton Contemporary Dance Company encouraged me to keep dancing because she thought I was really good at it and could do whatever I wanted in this area. That’s why I was like, ‘Why not? I’ve been dancing my whole life.’ I am glad I didn’t give up on the thing I really love and am good at it.”
While being the only student in her program was sometimes daunting, the benefits far outweighed the challenges. Li has danced in UD commercials, performed as the lead dancer in UD Dance Ensemble performances and was even a part of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. According to Li, the individual attention she received from faculty members and fellow performers has been overwhelming.
For Li, working on her senior capstone project has not been a job: it’s been a playground for creativity and artistry. Her dance showcase, titled “Can You Feel My World?”, highlights eight undergraduate dancers, most of them Li’s close friends. The modern contemporary style fused with elements of Li’s Chinese heritage promises to be a true demonstration of her passions and goals.
“I want to create art that relates to those sensitive but really important subjects that are happening in our daily lives. I want to bring people’s attention to these and show the unique ways of how dance can be the one of the most important things for people in this society in aspects such as mental healthiness, spirituality, self-reflection, identity and confession.”
Producing and choreographing the showcase solidified Li’s desire to create powerful dance pieces in the future. She will be attending Florida State University to continue her dance education, and eagerly awaits the endless opportunities that will spring from her love and expression of dance.
“Dance becomes something more than just a habit that only require moving your body and being pretty on the stage. It’s my home, a shelter. It makes me who I am today. It gives me direction, hope, strength, loss and pain. But it only makes me stronger, a better dancer and human being. Most importantly, I strive to do whatever I set my mind to, and while others are afraid to do so, I chase my dreams.”
Linxin Li’s senior capstone, “Can You Feel My World?”, is April 30 at 9:30 in Boll Theatre.
Photos courtesy of Linxin Li