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Sino West Performing Arts Opens in Goleta

Tour the studios and experience the different styles of dance at an open house on Nov. 5

Sino West Performing Arts is open in Goleta, offering children and adult classes in many forms of performing arts.

Current classes include ballet, jazz, hip hop, Chinese dance, acrobatics, salsa, Zumba, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, Shaolin kung fu and weaponry. Sino West Performing Arts aims to promote diversity in performing arts — different forms of performing arts, as well as performing arts from different cultures.

The word “sino” means Chinese, therefore combining “sino” and “west” in the name emphasizes the offering and specialization of Chinese and Western arts. Western arts include ballet, jazz, salsa and Zumba; and Chinese arts include classical Chinese dance, ethnic Chinese folk dance and Shaolin kung fu. But it doesn’t stop there. Sino West hopes to eventually add Afro-Brazilian dance, Bollywood and Capoeira to its curriculum as all performing art forms should all be learned and appreciated. Sino West stresses the importance of diversity, with realization of different kinds of beautiful movement in all different kinds of people.

“We believe that it doesn’t matter what nationality or what language, because performing arts is expression through movement and can be understood visually and appreciated by anyone,” Sino West studio owner Vicki Wang said. “It also doesn’t matter what age, what gender or what size a person is, art can be expressed by anyone and should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Sino West emphasizes that practicing performing arts is a great asset and allows individuals to gain a variety of benefits, such as building self-confidence, learning discipline and determination, gaining muscle control, and exercising and staying healthy. It also allows individuals to be well-rounded, adding characteristics such as strength, agility and grace. It is important to introduce children to performing arts early in life to ready their minds and bodies with skills they can use throughout their life. Though it is just as important to exercise in later years, such as a Tai Chi Easy class, which is a standing or seated class popular among seniors to continue movement, maintain balance, and keep bodies healthy.

Sino West offers a variety of classes that fit many different personalities. Some are calming, such as yoga and tai chi, some are energetic, such as Zumba and jazz, and then some are graceful, such as ballet and Chinese dance. Most are familiar with the popular forms of dance, such as ballet and jazz. Sino West offers these classes as they are fundamental and are the foundation of all forms of dance.

But Sino West also has lesser-known classes. Classical Chinese dance is a dance form that is similar to ballet, but has more freedom of movement and utilizes Asian movements, music and feelings. Chinese folk dances are ethnic dances from the many tribal communities within China. Each has their own unique dress and movements. Acrobatics teaches basic tumbling skills, and increases strength and flexibility to perform leaps, turns and special skills that complement dance. Zumba is a very popular dance class among adults. Zumba’s website describes it as “a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that is exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow and calorie-burning! A fun and exciting class that moves people toward joy and health.”

Sino West Performing Arts offers a store that sells clothes, shoes and accessories.
Sino West Performing Arts offers a store that sells clothes, shoes and accessories. (Sino West Performing Arts photo)

Sino West is the only place in town that offers Shaolin kung fu — a beautiful yet powerful kung fu style that Chinese believe all martial arts evolved from. Kung fu comes from the Chinese word “GongFu,” which Merriam Webster describes as “any of various Chinese martial arts that are practiced especially for self-defense, exercise and spiritual growth.” Tai chi is an exercise that uses slow, flow-like movements that moves energy and space. No matter the art form, the benefits are exercise, balance, self confidence and determination.

Sino West’s professional teachers are also very diverse. Different people from different backgrounds all have something to offer. There is a lot to learn from people’s different experiences. Dragon is a professionally trained dancer from China. Julie is a professional ballerina with State Street Ballet. Molly is a UCSB student majoring in dance. Kristina is also a student, not studying dance anymore, but still has dance strong in her heart. Molly G. is a mother of five and is so enthusiastic about dancing, exercise, and having fun. The individuals of Sino West’s staff have different personalities, nationalities, and sizes, but like its students, none are discriminate against, as they all share the same love, passion, and skill for performing arts.

Sino West’s facility boasts a beautiful 3,000-square-foot space. The space is divided into two classrooms — one for dance and one for kung fu. The studios are brightly lit with full walls of large windows and mirrors. Both studios have top-quality, professionally-installed sprung floating floors. The floating floors are built on spring pads made from recycled rubber, absorbing the shock and taking the high impact out of jumping, which reduces the risk of injury to students. The top layer of the dance studio floor is a high-quality vinyl dance Marley that prevents slipping and falling, yet is not too resistant. The top layer of the kung fu floor is padded high impact flooring. These floorings are unlike hardwood dance floors because hardwood floors are too slippery for dancing, and are too hard for participants’ joints.

For the convenience of its students, Sino West has two large bathrooms, water dispensers, seating and a store that sells shoes, clothes and accessories to help students get started and continue in their form of art.

Sino West Performing Arts welcomes everyone to try some classes, with first classes free for new students. Experience the wide variety of dance, martial arts and exercise forms and find out if any of these can benefit your life. Begin teaching children to move and control their bodies, or allow it to be an escape from work, school, life, to express oneself through movement.

To kick off this exploration of performing arts, Sino West is holding an open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 5 and inviting everyone to come enjoy free food, dance performances and kung fu demonstrations. The public can visit the studios, meet the teachers and learn about the different styles of dance and kung fu.

Sino West Performing Arts is located at 5718 Hollister Ave., Suites 105-108, in Old Town Goleta. It is across the street from the Goleta Valley Community Center, and is in the back of the plaza behind Spudnuts. There is plenty of parking.

For more information, click here or call 805.967.2983.

— Vicki Wang is executive director of Sino West Performing Arts.

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