Published Feb. 5, 2019
by HU Haiping “Claire”
At 7 p.m. on Feb. 1, the fourth annual Chinese New Year Showcase began at the Missouri Theatre. After more than six months of preparations, about 100 local students who learn Chinese in Columbia Public Schools took part. With the joint effort of all the participants, the show was an audio-visual feast that was full of singing and dancing.
The program was composed of 15 performances and a brief announcement mid-show by the Confucius Institute leaders to give away small toy pigs to coordinate with this year’s zodiac.
The showcase kicked off the program with a vibrant song named “Two Tigers.” The students, their parents and the teachers of the Children’s Chinese class at the Confucius Institute sang together. The tiger is the mascot of the University of Missouri, so this opening song was quite meaningful.
Next, the Rock Bridge High School Chinese 1 Class performed a dragon dance. When the team jumped on the stage, they won the first big applause of the night. Many Chinese audience members commented about this Chinese Dragon dance that when the golden dragon came out, we could not help but tear up.
The Chinese 2 Class from Battle High School brought the “Story of the Chinese Zodiac.” Each of the 12 students represented an animal and introduced the Chinese zodiac culture in a humorous and interesting way.
The Chinese 1A Class at Lange Middle School took the audience on a “Tai Chi Trip.” Volunteer Chinese teacher ZHAO Lina “Karen” led the class in a series of soothing, graceful movements.
The Chinese 3 and 4 Class from Rock Bridge High School performed an impressive “Fan Dance.” The distinctive sound of the fans opening and closing made a strong impression on the audience.
The Chinese 1B Class from Jefferson Middle School combined something new with something familiar in their performance of “Mulan.” Students acted out and sang the song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” in Mandarin, with two students providing accompaniment on their ukuleles. The Chinese audience was particularly impressed, noting that this is a five-star difficulty song.
The Chinese 1A and 1B Classes at Oakland Middle School performed together in a modified version of the “Three Character Canon.” This song is composed of the three-word sentences that are familiar to all Chinese people. The students combined singing and rap in their version, which was a unique combination of Chinese and Western cultures.
The next group was the Chinese 2 Class from Hickman High School. This class chose to write, record and edit their own video interviews with Chinese celebrities and literary characters.
The Chinese 1B class from Lange Middle School wrote and performed a special drama called “Panther.” It is based on a Chinese folk story that has some parallels to the Western fairy tale of “Little Red Riding Hood.” The students acted out the story with Mandarin dialogue and big stage gestures, which attracted a lot of laughter.
The Chinese 1A Class from Jefferson Middle School performed a song and dance titled “Confucius,” which featured traditional scholar costumes and bamboo scrolls. The students’ movements were very uniform, and their dance steps were firm.
“Fearless” was performed by the Chinese 1A and 1B classes from Smithton Middle School. This striking martial arts performance made a big impression. The act included a flag dance, Chinese sword dance, nunchucks and long boxing. Watching the flying flags and the waving nunchucks in the hands of the students, the audience witnessed the realization of these students’ kung fu dreams.
The students from the Chinese 1 class at Hickman High School sent “New Year Greetings” in the form of a video. Students introduced themselves in Mandarin and shared a traditional Spring Festival greeting like “Xin nian kuai le.”
The Chinese 1B Classes from Gentry Middle School performed “Singing the Masks of Beijing Opera.” The performers wore masks that they had painted themselves. Like the song sang, they were great and wonderful!
“Dumpling Making 101” was a cooking show-style video that was an audience favorite. In it, student performers Drew Graff and Emma Haupt demonstrated how to make pan fried dumplings from scratch.
The last performance of the showcase was a drum dance interspersed with a famous Chinese poem “Yuan Ri.” The happy drum sounds and flowing movements of the red scarfs on the drumsticks created an impressive finale.
Finally, the curtain call song “Gong Xi Gong Xi” resounded through the performance hall. All the cast members gathered on the stage while the audience clapped with the music. Although the New Year showcase has ended, the new year has just begun. The Confucius Institute at the University of Missouri wishes everyone Happy Chinese New Year!