China Night brings dance, laughter, culture
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 01:02
Performances of traditional and modern dancing, other musical acts and a Kung Fu group from the University of Oregon filled LaSells Stewart Center on Saturday for China Night 2013: The Year of the Snake.
The night began with people sharing authentic Chinese food and transitioned to a viewing of performances and musical acts.
“I like how this event brings together a wide range of people and not just Chinese people,” said Cheng Li, co-president of the Chinese Student Association. “It allows others to get involved and lets others experience Chinese culture.”
“I enjoy this big celebration of the Chinese New Year,” added Jindan Chen, a volunteer for the Chinese Student Association. “Since my family isn’t here with me, it’s nice to find a Chinese community here and share the night with others.”
According to Li, differences between American culture and other cultures make going to these cultural events a good learning experience. “Chinese culture is often mistaken [for] others,” Li said. “It has a mix of older culture, as well as newer. While some customs stay the same, others change.”
The performances began with an introduction video of people saying “Happy New Year” in Mandarin. It became quite obvious when someone was not pronouncing the phrase correctly because native Chinese speakers in the audience started to laugh.
Before each new act, the masters of ceremonies introduced the act both in Chinese and English.
The performances began with some dances bordering on the traditional side. They danced with either fans or flags in their hands. With the first four performances, the dancers were accompanied by an MC singing along with the routines.
Following the introduction of the MCs, another fan dance was done by a group of small children smiling and waving their green fans around as they pranced across the stage. Another dancing group performed a jazz-themed dance routine.
Not all the acts focused on dancing. A few performers sang for the audience while playing guitars.
One food-related performance provided a comedic tone to their dance routine. Those who did not speak Chinese may not have understood what they were saying, but their actions provided the entertainment.
In addition to the more traditional Chinese dances and songs, a group performed a Chinese rap song, and shortly after, another group performed some more modern dances, including hip-hop.
The Kung Fu group from the University of Oregon pleased the crowd. They began with a group routine to show off their skills as a team, then each one of them had a chance to show off their own skills individually. One member lightened up the atmosphere a bit when he started a martial art akin to Zui Quan, also known as “drunken boxing.” Lastly, the group finished with two members sparring. The crowd roared when they finished.
“I didn’t have one favorite part of the event,” said attendee Sandy Goeke. “I loved it all.”
According to Li, attending other cultural events could provide a new perspective and a learning experience for others.
“There are new Chinese students every year and so the event is a little different every year,” Li said. “It is good to look into and understand other cultures.”
“Others should come to these cultural events because Chinese students who are here for the first year [can] see Americans performing Chinese dances and martial arts,” Chen added. “[They can] see that there aren’t many differences between who performs.”
Hannah Johnson, news reporter