Starting Anew: Embracing New Creativity

by SHFamily | Thu, January 11, 2018

By Jenna Schmitt

As we ring in the New Year with holidays in the East and West, it’s a traditional moment to reflect on time itself: how we measure it, control it, plan it, and ultimately, just hang on and experience its passing. Particularly in Shanghai, we are often asked to start over more than our loved ones back home, beginning again and adapting to change, voluntarily or not. New relationships, new jobs, and an ever-evolving environment can bring overwhelming struggles just as quickly as they bring thrilling opportunities.

In this final part, we meet David Hinton and his slick dance moves.

Embracing new creativity

David Hinton

David loves movement. The eight-year-old American flies around his living room, eventually alighting on a chair — toes still tapping out a tune. “I’m not a talented dancer,” he insists. “My teacher in Milwaukee [Wisconsin, US] is a good dancer. He wins competitions all over the world!” To prove his knowledge of global excellence, David Hinton IV starts flipping through his favorite book: The 2017 Guinness Book of World Records.

In fact, Hinton IV started break dancing at the age of four in the US, even performing onstage before he and his mother, Carrie Lambrecht, decided to relocate to China. She explains:

“China has such a rich history and respect for education, especially the arts . . . We’re a musical family, and we’re always looking for new ways to express ourselves creatively here in Shanghai.”

While Hinton IV certainly doesn’t mind performing to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk for friends and family, all he really needs is a nearby mirror or windowpane to get into the groove. “I just freestyle all my routines,” he explains, “but learning ‘The Tripod’ was definitely the hardest move for me.” He quickly turns upside down and balances adroitly on his head and hands to demonstrate.

David Hinton

In 2017, pursing his creative passion in Shanghai meant diving into the Soong Ching Ling School (SCLS) art program, where he started primary school and both his mother and her partner, Justin Chun, now teach. This year, Hinton IV discovered even more styles of dance at school classes and enrolled in Chinese martial arts and Chun says:

“There is a traditional reverence for all of the arts in China . . . We have a great arts program where all students perform at least twice a year.”

As teachers, Chun and Lambrecht want to encourage a love of the arts the same way Hinton IV practices his love of dance: freestyle. The structured format of most school subjects make it both challenging and rewarding for students and teachers alike to discover creative artistic expression through feelings and personal connections.

“This year, it’s our goal to give each child every opportunity to organically discover the arts and music and to choose what they like,” says Chun. Lambrecht adds, “David is very expressive. Last year he tried kung fu as an outlet, and this year may be acting. Music and the arts can do beautiful things, so we encourage the freedom to choose.” For Hinton IV, this independence led him to a dancing talent that belies his age, with occasional martial arts choreography mixed into hip hop shuffles.


Pausing his breakdance demo to the beat of American hip-hop music, Hinton IV returns to the World Records and declares, “If I wasn’t break dancing, I would want to be in the superhero section of this book. I think next year I want to become a kung fu master.” If anyone can set world records as a break dancing kung fu superhero in 2018, we’re pretty sure it’s this little man.

Moving forward

As we ring in a new year, everyone can use a small but energetic reminder to keep embracing new starts and take change in stride. Life in Shanghai puts pressure on work or family that can seem even more difficult than learning to balance in a hip- hop headstand. But struggle is often a beginning of its own, opening up the uncountable number of unique and beautiful experiences that remind us why we call this city home.


Want more? Meet Arthur Burnand as he discovers family and Anna Dixon as she re-discovers passion in 2018.