“An Oriental Monsoon”
- Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis Presents Art Performances to Celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Horse

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis [Time]    2014-02-24 09:51:53 

In the beginning of the Lunar New Year of the Horse, the snowing Memphis, located by the Mississippi River in Tennessee, became the host of “An Oriental Monsoon” Spring Festival Tour to observe the Chinese New Year. On the night of February 9 US central time, amid cheers and applause of the audience that showed understanding, friendship and mutual respect, the 2014 Spring Festival Tour titled “An Oriental Monsoon” concluded in the performing-arts center at Christian Brothers University (CBU). Organized by Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) and co-organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM) and Hangzhou Normal University (HNU), the fifth performance of this tour, as one of the major programs launched this year by the CIUM and the grand activity held on the occasion of the Chinese New Year for the sixth consecutive year, was a great success.

On the night of the performance, the Performing-arts Center at CBU was enveloped in a joyous atmosphere and fully packed with friends and guests. People from Memphis and its neighboring areas gathered together to share a feast of oriental culture here. Faculty and staff members of the CIUM, from ordinary workers to the director, came early to prepare the center. They decorated the center with distinctive ornaments with strong Chinese flavors. At 7 p.m., the performance officially began. First, Director of the CIUM Professor Hsiang-te Kung, UM Interim Provost and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Professor Thomas J Nenon, and CBU Special Assistant to the President Mr. Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut respectively delivered a speech, and then Vice President of Hangzhou Normal University Professor Zhang Zhijun expressed his new-year greetings to the audience in his remarks. After the speeches, the audience watched a variety of wonderful shows.

The musical instrument performances in this tour were created innovatively. The unique combination of the solo dance Red with Guzheng playing related a touching story concerning the passion for life. The trio Joy and Happiness was played by Erhu, Guzheng and Suona, three kinds of traditional Chinese musical instruments, giving the audience present a festive mood. The Erhu solo Galloping Horses led the audience onto China’s vast Mongolian grassland where thousands of horses were freely running, and let all the listeners amazed by the magical appeal of Erhu. The creative Suona solo Harvesting Dates, a combination of traditional Chinese oral stunts and folk musical instrument playing, was adapted and performed by Du Zhusong, a professor of the College of Music at HNU. The audience was immersed in this refreshing performance, as if they had been in northern China watching rural residents harvesting dates right in front of them. Du’s playing received rounds of applause, pushing the tour to another climax.

Solo dance - Red

The trio of traditional Chinese musical instruments Guzheng, Erhu and Suona

Erhu solo Galloping Horses and the dancers

Interaction between the hosts and the audience

A variety of spectacular songs and dances were also presented in this tour performance. A singer sang the Chinese folk song Watching the Moon and the American classic song Country Road, both of which were songs about homesickness. These two songs received warm applause because they not only reminded the Chinese audiences present of their hometown, but also resonated with the American ones. Tibetan group dance Girls and Dai three-person dance Dai Beauty showcased the folk customs of Tibetan and Dai people. The martial arts performance Charm of Wushu demonstrated the profoundness of Chinese Wushu, winning much praise from the audience. During the performance of the dances of Mongolian Bowl Dance and Lift Your Hijab, some audiences went on stage participating in the interactive cultural activities -- experiencing the pleasure of Mongolian and Xinjiang dances. Among them, there was a five-year-old boy, who received applause due to his sincerity and cuteness when shaking his head and shrugging in Xinjiang dances. After the interaction, 18 dancers presented to the audience a Uyghur romantic dance with their comic facial expressions and flexible bodies. The applause from the audience showed their understanding of the eternal theme of love as well as their praise for the performance.

Solo Watching the Moon

Tibetan dance - Girls

Dai dance - Dai Beauty

Martial arts performance -- Charm of Wushu

Mongolian Bowl Dance

Group dance - Lift Your Hijab

Interaction between the performers and the audience

At 8:30 p.m., “An Oriental Monsoon” Spring Festival Tour concluded amid applause, and its success indicated that the hard work of the faculty and staff members of the CIUM paid off. All of them worked together as a team -- whether when decorating the performance venue or hosting the tour, whether when popularizing their programs or handling the reception work -- and their team spirit will for sure bring people more and better cultural exchange activities in 2014.

A group photo taken after the performance

Written by Wang Zefeng

Photographed by Yao Yu