Performers bring Chinese New Year and upcoming Winter Olympics to California and Barbados
With Chinese New Year approaching, a series of traditional performances from northern China wowed audiences in the California city of Beverly Hills in the United States on Jan 25 and 26.
The event marked its fifth consecutive year, as performers from Beijing and its neighboring Hebei province and Tianjin municipality put on a gala called "Happy Chinese New Year, Charming Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei".
The celebration was jointly organized by the press offices of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, in partnership with the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles and the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau.
The event attracted Zhang Ping, Chinese consul general in Los Angeles, John Mirisch, vice-mayor of Beverly Hills, Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau and about 500 local guests from financial, tourism, cultural institutions and corporations.
The celebration began with a fan dance, which was followed by a classic Peking Opera excerpt from The Drunken Concubine. This one-person show tells a story of the emperor's favorite concubine, Yang Yuhuan, who drank alone at night after she got stood up by the emperor. This repertoire is musically rich and filled with emotion, making it an internationally recognized play.
Other performances on stage included Ode to the Pear Blossom and Edelweiss, two classics mixed with modern Western singing; martial arts show Soul of Chinese Kung Fu, showing off amazing moves with speed and grace; and the acrobatic feat Pedaling Umbrellas, which presented tricky maneuvers without any safety equipment, leaving the audiences gasping for breath.
The gala featured an opening ceremony, wine reception, display of cultural heritage items, photo exhibition and variety show.
To help foreign people learn more about the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, a promotional drive took place as part of the tour, displaying related pictures and videos, and handing out pamphlets.
The gala won applause from the audiences and received international acclaim.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism started hosting Spring Festival-themed activities overseas in 2001 to promote Chinese culture and new developments to overseas spectators.
In 2009, the event was renamed "Happy Chinese New Year" in the hope that Spring Festival would connect people worldwide.
This year, in addition to the US, spectators on the Caribbean island of Barbados were treated to a feast featuring Peking Opera, martial arts, acrobatics and performances with traditional music on Jan 22.
Also on display were a raft of intangible cultural heritage items, including costumes of Peking Opera from Beijing, paper-cuttings of Hebei province's Yuxian county and woodblock prints from historic town Yangliuqing in Tianjin.
Many locals saw these beautiful crafts for the first time and used their cellphones to capture the moment.
The event was a platform to share the joy and culture of Chinese New Year and to promote a better understanding of the two cultures, organizers said.
The art troupes will also stage three more performances in other locations in Barbados.
The event overlapped with Barbados' Fish and Dragon Festival, which was designed by the local government to celebrate Chinese New Year, with "fish" referring to the Caribbean Sea and "dragon" standing for China.
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