Consisting of nine different performances, including various coordinated dances, singing, instrument playing, a talk show and a fashion show, Social Science Lecture Hall transformed into a stage exhibiting Chinese culture in celebration of the Lunar New Year.
The fourth-annual event was hosted by Chinese Students and Scholars Association on Saturday evening, Feb. 4. The evening also included raffles and a game involving the audience.
All performances of the evening were held in Mandarin.
The exclusive language is ‘something within the Chinese culture that brings out the beauty in it,’ said Daniel Belezzuoli, a first-year social ecology major. ‘[The event was a] beautiful display of Chinese culture and costumes. … It’s an amazing thing to see.’
Performers wore anything from traditional Chinese attire to modern styles currently popular in China. Many performances presented girls wearing bright, long dresses with glitter, dainty black shoes and elegant headpieces.
Other performances featured more contemporary outfits, such as men in black polo shirts with blue jeans.
In one of the coordinated dance performances, the girls wore pink dresses with white sleeves so long that they dragged several feet on the floor as they walked on stage. As they danced, they threw their sleeves into the air and spun and waved them like a ribbon dance. When seen from afar, their dance seemed like a graceful storm of white cloth which repeatedly billowed and collapsed again.
For Sunny Chou, a second-year graduate student in mechanical engineering, the best part of the evening was the fashion show, a chronological presentation of Chinese cultural attire.
For ancient Chinese attire, CSSA-UCI chose to display traditional clothing from four major Chinese dynasties: the Han, Tang, Song and Qing. The fashion show also exhibited traditional marriage clothing and elegant gowns.
The ceremony also included a humorous talk show skit between a boy and a girl.
Penengfei Chen, a second-year graduate student in electrical engineering, summarized the skit’s comical message as ‘Love is very important, but when you have a green card, it is better, and citizenship is the best,’ a common situation among the Chinese community today, according to Chen.
Throughout the event, audience participation was encouraged through games and raffles. Though small, the crowd was lively and full of support, cheers and laughter. The crowd often clapped along to the music and dances.
The audience of about 250 consisted mainly of Chinese people, ranging from small children to UCI students to elders.
The event coordinator was CSSA-UCI president and fourth-year graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science Sheldon Shendong Li.
Li was pleased with the evening’s program, calling it ‘the best for the [annual] shows up until now.’
CSSA-UCI, which Li said ‘plays a leading role for all the Chinese students in the southwestern United States,’ spent more than half a year planning the event.
The $2,500 needed for the event was provided through generous donations from friends and fundraising.
‘There has been a lot of Chinese or Chinese immigrants or international students here,’ Li said. ‘We feel that it is our responsibility to promote the cultural exchange between the Americans and Chinese,’ Li said.
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