2015 Bitter Tea Performers Profile
Emily Cheung (Ruan Ling Yu)
Emily Cheung is an educator, performer and choreographer. She is a professional Chinese dance artist specialized in both the Chinese classical and contemporary styles. She received her dance training in China, the United States and Canada. With an active performing schedule, Emily has won many prestigious dance awards including three grand prizes from the North American Chinese Dance Competition for her excellent dance technique and interpretation. She is an educator, performer, and choreographer with a B.F.A. and B. Ed. and Master of Fine Arts (M.A.) in Dance from York University. Cheung is involved in preserving traditional Chinese dance, creating contemporary dance that honours the Chinese traditions, and collaborating with artists from other disciplines and ethnic backgrounds to create works with unique aesthetic sensibilities. Her performance ‘Bitter Tea’ in company’s annual show was critiqued by Paula Critron as ‘Radiant’ dancer. Emily’s latest full length creation is “Venom of Love”, an interpretive version of the Chinese folk story “The Legend of White Snake”.
Irvin Chow (Ruan’s 1st lover, Damin)
Irvin Chow graduated with a BFA in Dance program at York University. Throughout the years he has danced in projects by: Angela Blumberg, Debra Brown, Susan Cash, Jasmyn Fyffe, Robert Glumbeck, Michael Greyeyes, Terrill Maguire, Yvonne Ng. Irvin has had the pleasure of performing as a part of David Earle’s “Miserere” in the Toronto Heritage Dance project and in TransMigration done by Kaha:wi Dance Theater by Santee Smith. He has performed with Sylvie Bouchard as a part of Dusk Dances and as a part of Julia Sasso’s, “SLoE”. He was recently a part of, Pulse, by, Jasmyn Fyffe, for the Montreal Fringe Festival which won the 2013 Frankie Award for Outstanding Choreography and a part of, No Permanent Answers, for the Toronto Fringe Festival. Irvin was part of Little Pear Garden Collective’s “Venom of Love” by Emily Cheung.
Brendan Wyatt (Ruan’s 2nd lover, Jihshan)
Canadian dance artist and performer Brendan Wyatt was born in rural Saskatchewan. He started dancing at the age of four and later spent nine years training at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.
One of the country’s most sought after independent artists Wyatt has performed in a multitude of professional works by several companies and choreographers nationally and internationally. Wyatt has been a core member of several Toronto based companies including The Chimera Project, ProArte Danza, Dreamwalker Dance, Bouchardanse and blackandblue dance projects. In 2008 he was a founding member of The Dietrich Group with Director/Choreographer DA Hoskins and dance artist Danielle Baskerville. In 2010 he was the recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore Award for his performance in this time an aldheid production by Heidi Strauss. In 2011 Wyatt was nominated for outstanding choreography with Andrea Nann for their full length evening Beside Each Other. Brendan has been involved in many of Little Pear Garden Collectives’ projects, including “Breath of Demon”, “Bitter Tea” and “Venom of Love”.
Yui Ugai (Ruan’s adopted daughter)
Ugai Yui was born in Hiroshima, Japan. She majored in drama at high school and then in dance and music at Kobe University. She performed in Toru Shimazaki’s contemporary dance works, Patch Work, Here We Are, and Run. Yui obtained professional ballet training at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) under the tutelage of Owen Montague and Joannes H. Nuyts, and she was awarded a prize for excellence in dance by the magazine Dance Dance Dance (DDD) in 2008. Yui holds BFA, Dance from York University in Toronto and Kobe College in Japan. She had performed at Nuit Blanche, Fringe Festival, WE DAY, Dance Ontario Dnace Weekend and Dance Matters a s a dancer. Yui has her career as an actress began with the film “Summer Days,” directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, and she worked with the Hollywood casting director Yoko Narahashi. Yui was a heroine for the short film “Raptura” premiered in imagineNATIVE Film+Media Arts Festival at TIFF and ReelWorld Film Festival. In Japan, she produced the dance event, “Dance Kotoen: One Coin One Hour Theater” sponsored by Nishinomiya City to support youth dance artists and community since 2011.
Karen Chen (Group Dancer & Night Club Lady)
Karen grew up in Toronto, Ontario, where she had the pleasure of learning ballet from various ballet studios around Toronto, including the National Ballet School. Over the past few years, she has participated in various dance productions, and including dancing the lead role in the ballet Cinderella. Over the past few years, Karen has also started to explore different genres of dance, most prominently Chinese/contemporary dance. She has performed in different festivals with Little Pear Garden Collective all over the city, and is looking forward to performing in many more with them!
Carman Chu (Group Dancer)
Carman started dancing at an early age and her passion in dance became her strength and faith throughout her journey. Having a degree in Marketing from York University did not deter her desire to dance, but rather encourage her to explore this performing art with a different perspective. She is a qualified Chinese dance instructor and achieved her certificate from the Beijing Dance Academy. Besides coaching students for annual examinations and performances, she participates as a guest instructor in the summer camp hosted by Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, which is an annual summer camp that brings Chinese culture to adopted children from China. These experiences expanded her visions and reasons in bringing Chinese culture to the next generation. She performs as a freelance dancer in many community and corporate events throughout the years and gained many wonderful experiences performing.
Theresa Fung (Group Dancer & Night Club Lady)
Born in Toronto, Theresa is extensively trained in ballet, jazz, acro, contemporary, hip-hop, modern, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She graduated from York with a B.FA honors and B.Ed. She is currently a teacher with the Toronto District School Board. Theresa has competed across North America, Europe, Asia and the U.S. and has appeared on TV shows for TSN, CBC, Raptors TV and City TV. Theresa has worked as a dancer with several sports teams such as the Toronto Argonauts, Blue Jays, and the Raptors Dance Pak.
As a company member, some performances with the Little Pear Garden Collective include, the Fortune Food Festival at Harbourfront. Soo-Ryu Dance Festival, the ROM during the Terra Cotta Exhibit and at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival. She is truly honored to be apart of such a talented company.
Tia Lu (Group Dancer)
Tia began dancing at the age of 3 and has been in love with it ever since. She is professionally trained in various genres including Ballet, Chinese Classical and Ethnic Dance, Jazz, Modern Contemporary, Hip Hop, Ballroom and Latin. At the age of 9 she began her professional performing career, where she got a rare opportunity to tour with Echo Dance Association across Canada performing at different cultural festivals. Since then she’s performed both locally and internationally including Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Chicago as well as New York. To date, Tia has become principal dancer, head choreographer and instructor in various dance companies. She has a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts, graduating from the Performance Production program at Ryerson University and works as a freelance Stage Manager and Costume Designer on the side. She has accumulated great amounts of working experiences in Music Videos, large Choreographic works and Corporate Company events with directors and choreographers all over Toronto including Luther Brown, Carla Catherwood and Sammy Cheng. Tia holds winning titles in numerous Dance competitions including the Kiwanis Dance Festivals and Stomp Urban Dance Fest.
Justin Lui (Group Dancer)
Justin Lui is a dancer and current company member of the Little Pear Garden Collective. He was born in Toronto and began dancing at age 13, and has since trained in Chinese dance, ballet, and hip hop/street dance. He has performed as part of several dance groups, including Norman Dance Company, Nancy Chiu Ballet Studio, VYbE Dance Company, and Only Human Dance Collective.
Sabrina Wang (Group Dancer)
Sabrina was born in Taiwan and started practicing dance since childhood in Taipei, where she learned Chinese dance and ballet. She was a performer at the Dun Huang Classical Dance Company. During her university study in Guang Zhou, China, Wang was exposed to wu-shu, tai-chi, dao-yin and worked with local dance artists, performing a variety of folk dances. Marking her new beginning in Canada, she joined the Little Pear Garden Collective.
Cindy Yip (Group Dancer)
Cindy Yip graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy with excellence then further trained at the Central University of Ethnicity in China. Exploring other Asian dances, Miss Yip performed in traditional Korean style with the Mi Young Kim Dance Company for 5 years. In 2011, she received mentorship from contemporary Japanese dance artist, Keiko Kitano, and studied other contemporary techniques with support from Ontario Arts Council’s Access and Career Development Grant. She is currently a dance committee member at the Toronto Arts Council.