UKCI’s Performance and Culture Show a Highlight at Local 2012 Chinese New Year Celebration

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky [Time]    2012-02-03 15:18:45 

Lexington, KY, USA, Jan. 23--Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky (UKCI) offered an ingenious performance at the 2012 Chinese New Year Celebration in Lexington on Saturday Jan. 21. The event was held in the Singletary Center of Arts at the University of Kentucky from 4:30 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. with a Chinese Culture Fair /Holiday Market (4:30-6:45 p.m.) and stage performances of 21 items (7:00-9:30 p.m. ) showing the charm of several aspects of the Chinese culture.

UKCI’s performance was a combination of Taiji and Chinese calligraphy with music played on Guzheng. It featured Angela Maske playing the Guzheng, Yufang Zhou, Elaine Cook and Michael Head displaying Taiji skills and Yunshu Ji showing Chinese calligraphy. Both Yufang Zhou and Yunshu Ji are UKCI’s Chinese teachers from Shanghai University, sent by Hanban. Their performance in this special combination drew warm applauses from the audience—about 1800 local people from various cultural backgrounds.

Apart from this performance, UKCI also conducted another activity at the event on Saturday—joining in the pre-performance Chinese Culture Fair by having two tables with a Chinese calligraphy show by Jinhai Zhang and Chinese paper-cutting show by Yue Xiao and Mingwen Lin, and with a display of brochures about its activities and classes. These two UKCI tables at the Chinese Culture Fair caught the attention of a lot of participants, showing that this activity was also a hit. Many kids tried to do paper-cutting themselves, and lots of people asked for a piece of Chinese calligraphy.

The 2012 Chinese New Year Celebration in Lexington, KY was sponsored by Kentucky Chinese American Association (KYCAA) and co-sponsored by UKCI and a few other organizations. This is the 7th time that KYCAA organized Chinese New Year Celebration, which has become one of the two biggest annual events of KYCAA. After UKCI’s inauguration in Nov. 2010, it jointed in the efforts for holding this event which communicates to the local people the cultural aspect of traditional Chinese festivals and celebrations. Its contribution has increased the richness of the content at the event.

The celebration’s diversified program of stage performances were given by many performers and groups. These performances included Dragon and Dance, Waist Drum Dance, Yellow River Piano Concerto, Uyghur Dance, Silk Acrobatics, Hula Hoops, Harvest Celebration with Drums and so on. The Harvest Celebration with Drums was performed by the Chinese Ensemble of the University of Kentucky. These performances were organized around 4 themes—Happy Chinese New Year, Kaleidoscope of Chinese Dance and Music, World Coming Together, and Looking into the Future.

Fascinated by the event, Marc Invergo, J-1 Scholar Advisor at the Office of International Affairs, University of Kentucky, said the event “a great success”. He said that he and his mom “had a fantastic time.”

The celebration event proved enjoyable in several aspects. Chinese food, Chinese painting, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese paper-cutting, Chinese-style gifts and stage performances all brought to those from the Chinese background a home-like familiarity. To those from other cultural backgrounds, they offer a charm of a different culture

A report at the local website quoted Ms. Freya Li, an exchange student from China as saying that the event really brought her back to China. It also quoted Judy Cox, a Lexington local as remarking that her granddaughter, Sophi Balcher, had found several things to enjoy before the show event started. Food was one of them. She described dumplings served there as “very good.”