CI Grand Spring Gala Makes a Big Splash in Lexington, KY, Home of CI at the University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY, USA.(Feb. 28)-- On Sunday, Feb. 26, approximately 900 local people from various cultural backgrounds attended the Confucius Institute Grand Spring Gala 2012 held in the Singletary Center at the University of Kentucky. The Grand Spring Gala, performed by Hubei University Dragon-Lion Dance Troupe, was sponsored by Hanban and hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky (UKCI).
The Grand Spring Gala started at 6:00 p.m. It was chaired by Dr. Huajing Maske, Director of UKCI. She extended a warm welcome to the visiting Hubei University Dragon-Lion Dance Troupe headed by Vice President Yang , Xianlan of Hubei University , the two guests from Hanban—Ms. Cheng, Ye and Ms. Du, Jia, and Associate Director Yang, Yiping of the Confucius Institute at Memphis University, and thanked them for their support for UKCI’s work. In her brief speech, she also expressed a warm welcome to the audience and introduced the highlights of the performance.
She told the audience this year’s Confucius Institute Grand Spring Gala was focused on martial arts or Kong-Fu and the performance also featured the traditional lion dance and dragon dance, two important dances during festivity events in China.
Dr. Susan Carvalho, Associate Provost of International Programs at the University of Kentucky and Vice President Yang, Xianlan of Hubei University both spoke at the Spring Gala. They, representing their respective universities, exchanged gifts for each other’s university as well.
The performance began with the Dragon Dance, capturing the audience’s interest immediately with the vigorous rhythm and movements, and the skillful performance of the various patterns. The audience clapped hands again and again during this traditional dance. The Dragon Dance carries with it a special significance at this time as this year is the Year of Dragon according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
Other items on the program include: Tai Chi (Taiji) Fan, which combined traditional Tai Chi with dance; Folk Song Medley--a collection of three folk songs including “Yellow Crane Tower” with its reference to an iconic building in the city of Wuhan which is the home of Hubei University, and “Old Man River” (a popular American folk song); and Sword, Spear and Stick Performance focused on martial arts.
The grand finale of the performance was the Lion Dance, another traditional Chinese festivity item with approximately a one-thousand-year history. The five performers from Hubei University Dragon-Lion Troupe performed the dance with adept skill, showing the energy and vigor characteristic of this kind of dance. Their performance brought the audience to another wave of enthusiastic applause.
The participants of the event were fascinated by the performance. Lisa S. Wilson of the Provost Budget Office at the University of Kentucky said, “The Gala last night was wonderful! James, Rachel, and I loved the entire event. The performers were outstanding! It’s so nice what the CI is doing for Central Kentucky. I’m sure only bigger things are on the horizon!”
The University’s J-1 Scholar advisor Marc K. Invergo congratulated Huajing Maske and the whole UKCI team for making the Spring Gala “very enjoyable.” He said, “From beginning to end, the entertainment was fantastic, especially the closing Lion Dance.”
Hubei University Dragon-Lion Dance Troupe gave 8 performances in 8 different places during their U.S. tour. They also exhibited some works of art in the lobby of the Singletary Center at the University of Kentucky before the performance started during the Spring Gala evening there. In addition, before the performance began, Hu, Zhiyong, professor of calligraphy in Hubei University and artistic director for the Dragon-Lion dance Troupe, showed the art of Chinese calligraphy and painting in the lobby of the Singletary Center as well.
artist drawing and writing
Zhang Fu Quan photo 11 Susan making a speech
Zhang Fu Quan photo 17 dragon dance
Zhang Fu Quan photo 21 Lion dance