BRIDGEWATER, NJ - She has starred in films and on Broadway, but Bridgewater resident Elena Kampouris wanted to give back to a teacher who nurtured a different kind of love.
And on Sept. 22, Kampouris held a special concert at Yong Kang Street, in Bridgewater, to honor her teacher Mínghuì Lǎoshī, who has been teaching her classical Chinese dance and the language of Mandarin.
Kampouris sang 10 songs in Mandarin and one in English as a dedication to her teacher.
“My whole purpose of doing this is to give back to the community, especially a brand new immigrant business,” she said. “I love the fact that my family is one of immigrants, and that we can all come together.”
Kampouris said she has always been fascinated by the Asian arts, and has recently gotten into Chinese culture.
“The genesis that drew me to it was really the peaceful efficient culture, full of very kind, humble, hardworking people,” she said. “It reminds me of my Greek roots.”
Kampouris said she has loved working with one of the top teachers of the Beijing Dance Academy in China, who also teaches with the Shen Yun Classical Chinese Dance, which tours all over the United States.
“Upon first meeting, as I struck up a conversation with my master coach, whose husband owns the noodle shop Yong Kang Street, we connected and she decided to take me on as a student of traditional Chinese ballet and Mandarin,” she said. “We’ve built a very close relationship, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.”
In addition, Kampouris said, she is planning a pilgrimage to China once she finds a window between projects.
A veteran already of film as a star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding II” and much more, Kampouris will soon be heading to Georgia for a coming-of-age movie called “Summer Night.”
“It is an amazing cast, which includes my love interest in the film, Ellar Coltrane from ‘Boyhood,’ Justin Chatwin from ‘Shameless’ and our producer is the director of ‘The Spectacular Now’ and ‘The Circle,’” she said.
In addition, Kampouris said, she has recently signed on as one of the new faces for L’Oreal Hair.
“We shot the International campaign with Jennifer Lopez,” she said.
Kampouris said it is important to her to continue to push to make herself better.
“After leaving Broadway, I made a conscious decision to take on projects that really are going to challenge me in different ways that others haven’t,” she added.