By JORDAN GRIFFIN
Editor: MICHELLE DANNER
On August 12, New Mind Education held a grand welcome Great Gatsby-themed dance event in the Faculty Center on UNCG’s campus. Our 21 newly arrived UPP students and old UPP students, as well as many Americans, were invited to participate, and the room was quickly filled with eager dancers and minglers. This event was designed to provide our students with an opportunity to not only interact with each other and make connections with past UPP students but to also introduce our new students to American students as well as the jazz and swing dancing culture of the 1920’s.
With delicious 1920’s era snacks such as tuxedo Oreos, lemon pound cake from the Ritz-Carlton hotel, white chocolate covered strawberries, peanut butter-and-jam filled cookies, and Pineapple upside down cake lining the tables, the event kicked off with a game of finding matching phrases from the 1920’s to their modern translations. Participants were also invited to make their own 1920s themed headband as well as try their hand at 1920’s style makeup. We also included a photo booth with a classic Art Nouveau black and gold background and props including feather boas, strings of pearls, stick on mustaches, and feather fans. With these, every picture looked like it came straight from an extravagant 1920’s dance party.
One of the main activities we had at this event was a 1920’s vocabulary game. Participants received slips of paper with 1920’s slang phrase or a modern slang phrase on it. Everyone then had to try to find the match to their phrase after learning the name of all the people they talked to. It was a great experience for everyone to learn about how language changes over time as well as a great ice breaker for our students.
After meeting lots of new faces and potential dance partners from this game, two American dance leaders, Ben Thompson and Virginia Wimmer, expertly demonstrated swing dance. Once the demonstrations were over, our students took over and the whole room came alive with music, dance, and conversation! Two students in particular were the stars of the UPP crowd, Kaisi “Keith” Deng and Yunan “Marina” Ma. Like naturals, they (along with other students) had a blast while swapping partners with Americans and other Chinese students. As the night wound down, everyone left with new vocabulary and new dancing skills. They now also have the opportunity to take to swing dancing each month here in Greensboro.