The Global Education and Peace Network will present a program on Chinese culture and religion this week at Wittenberg University .BILL LACKEY/STAFF Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield program to focus on Chinese traditions, wellness

The Global Education and Peace Network will turn to the east for its sixth program of the season, which will involve balance, inner peace and healthy bodies and their connection to Chinese religion.

“Practicing Kindness with Ourselves from the Chinese Traditions” will explore the practice of tai-chi, which operates on spiritual and physical levels.

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Shih-Ming Li Chang, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at Wittenberg University, and Dr. Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, a Wittenberg Professor of Religion, specializing in Chinese religious traditions, will present the program at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 in Room 105 of the Shouvlin Center on the Wittenberg campus.

The program is free and open to the public.

Chang describes tai-chi as like dividing a circle into a half dark with white dots and a white half with dark dots, representing balance.

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“It’s about being balanced - the universe, people - life should be that way,” she said. “If people are interested in Chinese culture and philosophy, this healthy exercise is part of that.”

Chang will share the basic philosophy of tai-chi, including a demonstration of simple, basic movements, focusing on how to shift weight to give participants a sense of their bodies and how to move.

As an exercise, Chang said that tai-chi can be especially beneficial to people who sit at desks for work or at computers, as well as for the elderly as it helps with knee joints.

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Attendees are recommended to wear comfortable clothes designed for movement in learning the basics of tai-chi. They will also receive information to practice on their own if they wish.

Chang teaches various forms of dance at Wittenberg including modern, jazz, ballet, tap, Chinese folk dancing and others.

In 2016, she co-authored the book “Chinese Dance: In the Vast Land and Beyond,” and in March will help lead the American College Dance Association’s East-Central Region Conference, involving 400 participants from 24 colleges at Springfield’s John Legend Theater.

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The Global Education and Peace Network’s speakers series is in its 17th season of monthly programs that explore ways local residents can practice kindness in their lives.

For more information on the February program or the Network, go to

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