Image source: Photo by: Richard Talaban

The choreographers picked to compose the various episodes of this year’s version of the Splendor of the East (SOE) are among the best in Detroit.

They were chosen by the Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) on the basis of their excellent track records and long experience in the art of dance and music.

CAPA President Arcie Gemino said the meticulous selection is expected to ensure that SOE 2012 will be as artistic, colorful and enjoyable as those staged in the past years.

The chosen choreographers, who are all noted for their creative talent, imaginative prowess and terpsichorean skills, are Kimberly Mikulski (lead choreographer), Ning Xue, Julie Tang, Susan Qu, Sharon Dow, Parul Shah, Radhika Acharya, Minnie Morrey, Sun-Mi Choi and Annabelle Martinez Cudilla.

Kimberly Mikulski is a professional choreographer, who is the director of the Elaine Ceime Irish Dance School. The segment she has composed for SOE 2012 will be performed by the Irish Step Dance Troupe.

Under the direction of Mikulski, the Elaine Ceime school provides first-class education in traditional Irish-step dance. Its dancers have performed at various events throughout the US and even around the world.

Aside from being the lead choreographer, Mikulski is also SOE’s creative director and principal instructor.

Ning Xue is a choreographer and professional dancer from China. She has 25 years of experience in teaching Chinese folk dance, traditional dance and classical dance. Upon the invitation of the University of Michigan (UM), Xue came to Michigan, and she has been teaching Chinese dance at UM for many years now.

Xue’s segment in the SOE will be performed by the Chinese Dance Troupe, which is a part of the Metro- Detroit Oriental Art School established in 1997. The dance troupe has been participating in the SOE and other international dance festivals since 2000.

Sun-Mi Choi is the choreographer and director of the Korean Culture Dance Team, which was formed three years ago. She has a master’s degree from Ewha Women’s University in Korea. The Korean team performed in the SOE in 2007 and 2008 and had also performed at other important events in the Metro Detroit area.

Susan Qu is the lead chorographer of the Michigan Chinese Folk Dancing Group which was founded in 2004. The group consisted of newly immigrated Chinese amateur dancers in various professional fields. The group has been voluntarily demonstrating the Chinese culture with different styles of Chinese traditional dances for diverse audience at various schools, universities, art and cultural fairs, and community centers throughout Metro Detroit.

Radhika Acharya is the director of the Nupur Academy of Dance based in Troy, Michigan, which was founded in 2003 with the principal purpose of teaching the ancient classical dance style from South India called “Bharatanatyam.” The academy strives to develop excellence and dedication in its students as well as to cultivate in local communities a broad awareness and understanding of the Indian culture through its interpretative dance programs and events.

In the last decade, Nupur Academy of Dance has consistently shared its art with several community groups such as the Troy Public Library and the Troy public schools (Troy Daze, Kaleidoscope). It performed at, among others, the Festival of India at Hart Plaza, at the ethnic festival of the City of Sterling Heights, at corporate cultural groups in Chrysler, and at ethnic Indian cultural organizations.

Minnie Morey is the artistic director of the Pacific Island Dancers, a group which promotes the dances of the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti and the Philippines. Minnie is Filipino by birth and was raised in the Filipino tradition of family, culture and music. At present, she teaches Philippine folk dances as well as Polynesian dances. She formed the Pacific Island Dancers, a troupe based in Western Michigan.

Sharon Dow is the choreographer of the Michigan Chinese Women Association (MCWA) headed by President Mary Wang. MCWA, a non-profit organization with 501C (3) tax-exempt status, was founded in 1990. In 1995, it merged with the Taiwan Girls’ High School Alumnae Association.

MCWA presents Taiwan’s aboriginal dance to fulfill its mission of promoting Chinese culture. The dance was presented for the first time in 2010 during the celebration of the International Women’s Day. This is the second time MCWA will be participating in SOE.

Anabelle Martinez Cudilla is the dance director and choreographer of the Tagumpay Dance Troupe. She has a track record of more than 30 years as dance director and choreographer. She had undergone years of training with the Bayanihan Dance Company, which is the national dance troupe of the Philippines. She also had training in classical ballet at the Cultural Center of Philippines. A graduate of Philippine Women’s University, she fell in love with the Hula dance during her student years in Manila.

Later, she opened her dance company in Bacolod City, Philippines, which trained gifted dancers on many dance forms such as ballet, modern jazz, Spanish, Polynesian and Filipino dances.

Here in the US, her dancers are provided unique training in all the cultural forms of dance.

During the celebration of Rizal Day last December, Annabelle received accolades and rave reviews for her superb choreography of the show entitled “Rizal’s Love and Travels.”

Choreographer Parul Shah is a dance graduate of classical Bharatnatyam from Nritya Bharti school of dances in India. She has also learned and practiced various folk dances of India.

She taught Indian classical and semi-classical dances in 1990. She has participated in Indian folk dance competitions on the regional and national level and has won many awards.

Her two older daughters Nisha Shah and Heta Shah are Bhartnatyam dance graduates, too. Her husband Shirish Shah and daughter Isheeta Shah are actively involved in community services and in teaching Indian culture through dance and music to the younger generation