Cheng Xiong was a speakers at the 2020 “Dancing while Hmong” event, a unique collaboration between Hmong Museum and MN Dance & the Ecstasies of Influences to share stories by dance practitioners and organizers from immigrant and refugee communities in Minnesota.
Why did you decide to participate in “Dancing while Hmong”?
“Being a Hmong American that dances, I feel like there isn’t enough recognition compared to other art forms. I also feel like the community doesn’t know our stories, remember who we are or what we’ve done for the community. There are numerous dancers that are letting go of their dreams and passion because they are not getting the support they need from the community or just simply the accessibility like some other art forms may have. I strongly believe that Hmong dancers need equal support just like other art forms.“
What do you hope people learn or walk away from this event?
“I want to share my story so that our community knows who we are and what we are doing for our community. I hope for them to remember us by sharing our story and inspiring our future children who might share the same dreams as us. Hip Hop has been an art form and culture that has given me endless opportunities. It has given me the chance to meet extraordinary, skilled, and positive people. It has given me strength and courage to achieve dreams that I never knew I could. It has given me a deeper understanding in dance and broadened my perspectives. Hip Hop has a purpose and it helped me find my purpose.”
What inspires you?
“My community, my family, my friends, the youth, the American dream, and the amazing professionals who are remembered. Everyone I hold close to me is inspiring some part of me and I want to hopefully utilize that to lead and open a path for others who wants to do the same.”
More About Cheng Xiong
Cheng Xiong is a professional dancer that grew up on the East side of St. Paul, Minnesota who started off as a street dancer. Xiong received his Bachelors of Art in Dance at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2014. He is currently working with a few professional dance companies such as Black Label Movement, STRONGmovement and BRKFST Dance Company, and the Timberwolves’s First Avenue Breakers.
Some of the highlighted performance opportunities that Xiong has been a part of, was in 2015 when Xiong and Black Label Movement presented, “Bodystorming Hits Bangalore” as they partnered up with the National Centre for Biological Science in Bangalore, India. In 2017, STRONGmovement took part in the Momentum: New Dance Works festival and performed their new work “6.” In 2018, Xiong joined Frankie Herbes and Joelle Fernandez’s recurring Hip Hop dance piece called “I’m From…Vol. 2,” where Xiong debuted his solo called “Being Hmong, Being Free.” In 2019, Xiong was asked to be a part of Rhythmically Speaking’s seasonal show, “The Cohort” with 3 choreographers sharing the evening: Erin Liebhard, Rohan Bhargava of Rovaco Dance Company, and Pat Taylor of JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble. Later that year, Xiong toured in Gainesville, Florida with Black Label Movement for a residency at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Along with performing, Xiong is also a Breakdance instructor. He has taught at after school programs such as Washington Technology Magnet Middle, Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, Ramsey Middle through East Side Arts Council and at a studio called Dance-N-Magic. Xiong is currently teaching at Cypher Side.