April 19




A Beautiful Journey
(JE Performance Program)

Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the ~Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

~Dr. Juefei Wang, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International education, on behalf of the UVM, Asian Studies Outreach Program.

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang, without whose effort and support this program would not even be possible!

Thank you Juefei!

Leland & Gray
Journey East 2007

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director


Come see these magnificent performers on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm. They will perform at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont.

Click here to find out more about this amazing and fun evening!


Where Are They?




Dessert or Desert? We’ve Got Both!

jumpersHi everybody.

Leaping lizards! (who is known for saying that? Hint: she had a dog named “Sandy”).

Look at these guys! Susan Daigneault shot this great photo of these kids in flight!

We’ve got a lot of fun stuff for you today. You better take your shoes off ‘cause we are going to play in the sand today!

We celebrate another birthday dessert (keeping track?) and we follow that with a trip to the Gobi Desert.

Let’s start out with wishing a huge “happy birthday” to Aaron. a-one, and-a-two, and-a-three,

Happy Birthday to You . . . Make a wish, Aaron!

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Wow, these birthday celebrations are incredible! Okay, so there is the DESSERT part of the day. Now, let’s turn our attention to the DESERT part of the day’s events.

The group visited the famous Gobi Desert today. This is a highlight and the pictures alone tell the story. However, to give insight as to what Nicole thought of the experience, here is her story . . .

April 18, 2007 -- Nicole Thomas, Freshman

Have you ever sat by yourself and tried to comprehend the size of the sun, the beginning of time, or the ends of the universe? Today, sitting on top of the Gobi desert, I experienced the feeling of being so small and so meaningless –a feeling I often get when I think about these questions. Picking up a handful of sand, watching how long it took for it to leak out a small crack between my fingers, then looking around and seeing nothing except sand dune after sand dune until, in the distance, the sand met the sky –it absolutely blew my mind.

I had never felt in such a strong way until today that there is so much of this world that I haven’t explored. I guess this made me think that that is what this experience has been for me: the beginning of my exploration of the world.

Then again, what fifteen-year-old wouldn’t feel like she was going to see everything and somehow make a difference after being on the road in China for three weeks? What fifteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at a day like today: riding camels and rolling down sand dunes and going to dinner to find a picture of herself dancing in a Beautiful Journey on the front page of the Hohhot daily paper? Yes, there I was along with Taylor and the rest of the dancers. This was extremely rewarding after all our hard work.

To top off an amazing day, Aaron turned 17. We ate a Chinese birthday cake for the fourth time this trip, acted silly and watched Claire smear cake on Hujia’s face.

Sometimes I am absolutely amazed at this group’s ability to make the most of each day.

Tomorrow we have another show and exhausting yet completing gratifying collaboration with the Mongolians. So… Good bye for now.


Now, back to the story that every picture tells:

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A Day at the Beach . . .


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Had enough of these Gobi Desert photos. Right, I didn’t think so . . . but before we go for more, and we are definitely going for more, here’s just a little bit of info on the Gobi:

  • tn_Desert 111The Gobi is 500,000 sq mi (1,295,000 sq km), extending 1,000 mi (1,610 km) from east to west across SE Mongolia and N China.
  • It is one of the world's largest deserts.
  • The Gobi consists of a series of shallow alkaline basins; the western portion of the desert is entirely sandy.
  • The Kerulen River is the Gobi's largest permanent stream; intermittent streams flow into small salt lakes or disappear into the sand.
  • Nearly all the region's soil has been removed by the prevailing northwesterly winds.
  • tn_Desert 114Fierce sand and wind storms are common.
  • The Gobi has cold winters and short, hot summers.
  • Precipitation is in the form of widely spaced cloudbursts.
  • The Gobi's grassy fringe supports a small population of nomadic Mongolian tribes engaged in sheepherding and goatherding.
  • The Gobi is crossed by a highway and by the Trans-Mongolian RR, which links Ulaanbaatar with Jining, China.
  • The railway shortens the Moscow-Beijing run by 700 mi (1,130 km).
  • Coal is mined at Tawan-Tolgoi, Mongolia; oil fields are located at Saynshand, Mongolia, and Yumen, China; and there are copper and other mineral deposits.
  • Many paleontological finds, including early mammals and dinosaur eggs, have been made in the Gobi. Prehistoric stone implements, some 100,000 years old, have also been excavated.
  • (Reference: http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0821092.html)

To put this in perspective, the Gobi Desert is twice the size of the state of Texas! or 532 times the size of Vermont! Gosh, two days in a row learning something new!

Okay, okay, okay, let’s get back to the pics . . .

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Two humps or one?

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Now, before we go to the next batch of Gobi pics, I want to assure that are not losing your mind. These are actual chair lifts in the desert. I know! Must be weird for these guys not to be wearing skis. If you look closely, you can see how really tall those mountains of sand are!

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The place to the left is a restaurant. We believe they serve “sandwiches.” (get it? Okay, so another corny joke. Hey, whaddya want for nothing?)

Okay, I see you have your hand up. What’s that? You are curious about the camels? Funny you should ask. These are two-hump camels. Here’s the scoop:

Bactrian Camels (Asian, Two-Humped Camel):

Length: 7 to 11 feet
Height: 6 to 8 feet
Weight: 1000 to 1500 pounds
Number of young: 1
Home: Mongolia

And do those humps hold water? That’s right, no they don’t. You guys are good! Find out more about camels here.

Is your brain hurting yet? Mine is!

Okay, so that’s it for today. But, before we go, we want to show you someone (do you know who this is?) who flipped out when she saw the Gobi Desert:


It’s been a long haul, hasn’t it? The good news is this is the last Thursday of the trip. Can you believe it? And tomorrow the last Friday, and so on. The end is near. Tomorrow we see the kids on the front page . . . stay tuned.

T-minus 6 days and counting . . .

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