Beijing Normal University Art Troupe Wins High Praise in Oklahoma, U.S

[Source]    hanban [Time]    2010-03-08 12:48:47 

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts (NOCPA) was filled by American audience, who came to enjoy Chinese performances by the Beijing Normal University student art troupe. The center is the largest performance and activity venue in the Norman Community with a seating capacity of 1,200 people. The performance started with the dance “Golden Time”, which was a great success with the audience.

From February 10th to 18th, the art troupe went on an 8-day tour with 17 performances in Oklahoma at the invitation of the Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma and with great support from Hanban and Beijing Normal University. Three of the performances were given to the students of three universities and the other fourteen were for students of primary and secondary schools around the state, reaching a total audience of 7,000. This was the first time there had been a performance tour on such a scale as this in Oklahoma.

On the morning of February 12th, the art troupe, in spite of being tired from the long-distance traveling, was divided into two groups: one headed for McKinley Primary School and the other for Madison Primary School. When the performers invited the pupils to the stage, there were more than 100 of them who actively came to the stage to play with the performers. In just one hour, the pupils and the performers became friends and could not bear to part from each other at the end of the activity. The children hugged the performers for a long time and everyone was deeply moved by the heartwarming scene.

On the evening of February 12th, the troupe gave its 3rd performances at the University of Central Oklahoma in a hall that could hold more than 500 people. The performers interacted frequently with the audience, which added to the warm and cheerful atmosphere. Local media outlets gave a full report on the event. The Oklahoma Daily gave a follow-up report on the tour in the state and carried related reports respectively on February 10th, 13th and 16th. On February 13th, this headline appeared in the newspaper: “The event is a kind of cultural activity with great significance. It indicates that Oklahoma is moving towards developing multicultural exchange, which is inspiring.”

The highlight of the tour was the performance on the eve of the Chinese New Year on February 13th. Amid warm applause from more than 1,200 people in the audience, Dr. Paul Bell, Dean of the College of Arts and Science and Chairman of the school board of the University of Oklahoma delivered a welcome speech. The dean is a Chinese expert and is deeply attached to China. He not only gave his speech in fluent Chinese, but also wrote a large “Fu (happiness in Chinese)” with a calligraphy brush, and demonstrated the Chinese character upside down (which means happiness is coming in traditional Chinese customs). Afterward, the students, including Lu Ye, Han Yujie, Luo Jia and Gao Shan, demonstrated a number of Chinese folk dances, such as Dai dance, Korean long-drum dance, Miao dance and Yi dance. They also performed modern dance, classical dance and hip-hop. The highlight of the performance was the Dunhuang dance which combines ethnic dance styles from central and western China, which gave the audience a taste of the mystery of the East.

In the evening, the audience also watched a demonstration of the creation of Peking opera masks as well as the performance of fragments of Peking opera. To help the audience better understand some of the essence of China, the make-up artists specially drew masks in front of the audience, not only arousing the interest of the audience, but also laying a good groundwork for the explanation of the opera performance. A student called Liu Yuan, who has studied erhu for more than 17 years, performed several pieces of music on erhu. His performance was both elegant and humorous, and won warm applause from the audience..

This performance on the Chinese New Year by the art troupe gave the overseas Chinese and American people a wonderful experience, as well as demonstrating their good wishes. At the end of the performance, the audience expressed their admiration by giving the performers a standing ovation.

After their tour in Norman, the troupe went to gave performances in Tulsa, another key town in Oklahoma. The troupe was divided into 3 groups to put on performances in 12 primary and secondary schools.

The tour received great support from the administration of the Oklahoma state, ranging from the office of the Secretary of State to the friendly people from various local institutions. As this was the first time for the University of Central Oklahoma to undertake a performance on such a grand scale, its school leaders attached great importance to the event. The whole staff of the Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma gave up their days off to prepare for the performance. During the event, Dr. Paul Bell met with the art troupe and gave a banquet in their honor together with Dean Gou Xuehong of the Confucius Institute.

The art troupe prepared for the tour carefully. They arranged not only programs demonstrating the long history and brilliant culture of China, but also performances designed to appeal to the American audience. The event helped expand the influence of the Confucius Institute in Oklahoma and promote Chinese culture in the U.S. It also helped to demonstrate the profoundness of Chinese culture and the elements of harmony and friendship in the culture.

The dance “Golden Time”

Smiling with happiness

Gathering together

Fu (happiness in Chinese)

Double show

Impersonation show

Smiling happily