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UA Confucius Institute Using Art to Unite Chinese, US Cultures

Those at the University of Arizona Confucius Institute are seeking to bridge the gap between the Chinese and American cultures.

Larry Lang works as the organization's program manager, and he said that each institute worldwide has a specialty. While some specialize in language, the institute in Tucson focuses on culture.

"The understanding level is unbalanced between the two sides," Lang said.

He added that while it has gotten better since he first came to the U.S. in 1987, there's still an imbalance between the two.

Through music, dance and martial arts, this group hopes to bring a better understanding of their culture to Tucson.

Shao Junming, a master kung fu and tai chi instructor who is visiting Tucson through the Confucius Institute, said tai chi is unique among martial arts.

"Most of the time the younger people, children and younger, practice the martial arts because the movements are so fast and powerful," Junming said. "But tai chi and chi gong belong to the internal kung fu, which does not just practice your muscle and power."

Angelina Lin Hannum became involved with the group four years ago as a dancer. This year, she choreographed traditional Chinese dances that were performed in the Chinese New Year Festival.

"The piece that I did was primarily based off of Chinese classical dance which is a really nice mixture of partially martial arts…and Chinese philosophy," Hannum said.