China and U.S. Celebrate Chinese New Year, Spring Festival Gala of Confucius Institute at University of Arizona Gets Thumbs Up from US Media

[Source]    Confucius Institute at University of Arizona [Time]    2018-02-23 18:06:45 

On February 11th local time, the annual Chinese Spring Festival Gala presented by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona was staged at the Centennial Hall. Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, Andrew Comrie, Senior Vice President of the University, Suzanne Panferov Reese, Vice President for Global Initiatives and other guests attended and watched the show.

Jonathan Rothschild sent his warm greetings to the guests and audience present and expressed that it was the eighth time for him, a devoted audience, to watch the Spring Festival Gala.

Guests giving speeches

Audience Immersed in Wonderful Performance

The show kicked off with joyous Chinese folk music ensemble “An Auspicious New Year” by the Purple Bamboo Orchestra of the Institute. The children dance “Spring Joy”, the Mongolian dance “Swan Goose”, the Peking Opera “Farewell My Concubine”, martial arts performance “Chinese Kungfu”, Cheongsam show “Exquisite Beauty” and Northeastern China’s Yangko dance “Playful Flowers” feasted the eyes of the US audience.

Cheongsam show “Exquisite Beauty”

Zhang Xintuo, a martial arts instructor of the Institute, was joined by two dancers in presenting “Dance of Ink and Brush”. Against an exquisite and artistic setting, the show successfully integrated Chinese martial arts, folk dance and calligraphy, revealing the beauty of traditional Chinese culture to its fullest. After then, 90 students from the Confucius Classroom sang an ancient Chinese poem named “Goose, Goose, Goose” in standard Chinese, bringing the gala to another climax.

The martial arts and dance performance of “Dance of Ink and Brush”

Students singing Chinese poems

The Combination of Chinese and Western Elements Presents Harmonious Beauty

The gala was featured by the cooperation between Chinese and U.S. performers and the combination of Chinese and western elements. Charlotte MacInnis, former host of China Central Television (CCTV) and now a new member of the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, co-hosted the gala with three other Chinese and U.S. hosts. The authentic Chinese and English pronunciation as well as the decent hosting style chimed in with the background of profound Chinese characteristics, which makes the one almost believe to be in the studio set of CCTV 1. The audience broke out into rounds of applause.

The hosts of the gala

The Tai Chi fan performance

In the Chinese folk music ensemble by Purple Bamboo Orchestra, traditional Chinese musical instruments such as erhu, yangqin and pipa were played harmoniously with western orchestra under the baton of a U.S. conductor. Li Xiaohui, a martial arts instructor from the Confucius Classroom, led her U.S. students perform Tai Chi fan, which presented the harmony of movement and stillness, in an impressive manner. Dressed in traditional Chinese costumes, the U.S. dancers performed the ballet dance Spring Flowers, showing the unique charm of Chinese dance. The Chamber Symphony Orchestra from Southern Arizona performed the impassioned Chinese classic play “The Ode to the Red Flag”. At the end, the show had all Chinese and U.S. performers sing a sincere and moving song “I Love You China” to close the ceremony.

Ensemble of traditional Chinese instruments

Ballet dancers performing “Spring Flower”

The Gala Attracts Media Attention and Garners a Swathe of Fans

The Spring Festival Gala has been held nine times in a row, and become a cultural feast in Tucson. According to Megan, Director of Centennial Hall’s box office, as the gala has greater influence and drawn more attention over the past nine years, the buying rush of tickets in this year has risen to a new peak.

This year’s spectacle had the presence of a devoted 102-year-old audience. Two years ago, her family brought her to watch the Chinese Spring Festival Gala in the Centennial Hall for the first time and celebrated her 100th birthday there. Despite her worsen physical conditions, she still came to watch the performance with oxygen bags under the company of her daughter and the nurse this year.

The 102-year-old local attending the show

In a move away from the past, the local media gave extensive coverage of the event this year. Arizona Daily Star published written reports and posted video clips on its website, and its reporter Mr. Fred said with excitement after the show that “It was the most beautiful show I’ve ever watched.”

After the show, many in the audience sent the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona emails complimenting the show. Alan, a staff member of the Mirror Lab of the University of Arizona, watched the show for the first time and wrote in the email that “The show was brilliant and I will come every year in the future!” A young American named Adam said that this wasn’t anything like the American shows he had watched before and it was versatile and entertaining. A viewer by the name of Versluis exclaimed, “It is so amazing! It is unbelievable!”

Prof. Lang Xiaoming of the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, also the chief director of the gala, said “The Chinese Spring Festival Gala is not only a get-together for Chinese people in the U.S., but also a tribute to ethnic integration. It not only makes Chinese people proud of their culture, but also lets US friends become fond of the Chinese music and Chinese art!”

Chen Zhao, Foreign Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, said that the Institute has made its Spring Festival Gala the most enjoyable one in North America in a market with limited resources. The Chinese New Year has gradually become the Spring Festival of the world.

Story by Sun Yuhong