August 4, 2016

In step with the China Initiative, Beijing was the fertile ground this summer for a new seed from the CIIS tree. In July 2016, a group of students and alumni offered a series of workshops and events called the "Summer Blossom" festival, put on by Stage Ai, a path-breaking organization founded by Yan Chen (ICP) and Yang Guang (PCC). Stage Ai's mission is to put the CIIS vision into practice by helping participants build a more connected life. That means connecting with our hearts and bodies, connecting with our own depths and past, connecting with one another in community, and connecting with the cosmos that is our home. It also means connecting East and West in participatory events that bridge geography, culture, and ideas. The Stage Ai team weaves together the arts, movement, and various healing modalities to create firsthand experiences of integral living. To this end, students and alumni from many departments comprise the team: Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness; Integral Counseling Psychology; Drama Therapy; Expressive Arts Therapy; Somatic Psychology; and Master of Fine Arts.

Students in theater performance

In nine separate events totaling over 14 days of activity, hundreds of people were exposed to the fruits of the CIIS experience, including educators, professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, students, and spiritual seekers from various circles in Chinese society. The Summer Blossom festival kicked off with a daylong experiential showcase of Stage Ai's diverse offerings, where participants learned about the archetypes through music and image, danced to the vibrations of the four directions, took a meditative cosmic walk through the history of the universe, sang songs of homecoming, and got in touch with their roots in a primal drum circle. Other workshops throughout the month included: Drama Therapy Life Scripts; Heart-Body Dialogue Experiential Music and Movement Salon; Discovering Soul through Astrology, Psychology, and the Arts; Returning Home and the Universe Story; and even a drama therapy workshop for children.

Students in theater performance

Founded by Chinese students, nourished at CIIS, and then brought back to China, Stage Ai embodies the sacred marriage of East and West championed by CIIS. The Summer Blossom festival was collaboratively created by a diverse team of teachers, healers, and artists from China, America, Taiwan, and Germany. Such an integrated, diverse, and multidisciplinary team pioneering spiritual work in China is a unique product of the CIIS mission and promises to bring more visibility to the university. By promoting integral living as a daily practice and building conscious bridges between the East and the West, Stage Ai is helping bring CIIS's core values to a wider world.

The Stage Ai team includes: Laura Bai (Somatics), Michelle Chang (PDT), Yan Chen (ICP), YaHuei Chi (PDT), Travis DiRuzza (PCC), Emerson Gale (PCC), Jessica Garfield-Kabbara (BAC and MFTi, Pacifica), Yang Guang (PCC), Yunyi Huang (EXA), Xiaotian Liu (MFA), Richard Wormstall (PCC), Wanning Ren (Drama Therapy NYU), Sophia Wang (Music therapy, NYU)

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