Chinese New Year celebration at UB combines traditional and contemporary performing arts

Some 250 performers will take the stage Feb. 17 in the UB Center for the Arts to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Release Date: February 13, 2018

“What makes the event so special is that it brings Chinese and non-Chinese people together on a grand scale to showcase their talents and renew friendships.”
Zhiqiang Liu, associate professor of economics and director of the Confucius Institute
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – For the eighth consecutive year, the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute and the Chinese Club of Western New York (CC-WNY) will mark the arrival of the Chinese New Year with a diverse program celebrating Chinese culture on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2:30-5 p.m. at UB’s Center for the Arts.

The popular free event has often filled the CFA’s Mainstage to capacity with guests enjoying a spectacular display of art, language, music, storytelling and martial arts demonstrations.

“The Chinese New Year celebration is the culmination of our year-round activities promoting a better understanding of Chinese culture both on and off the UB campuses,” says Zhiqiang Liu, an associate professor in UB’s Department of Economics and director of the Confucius Institute. “What makes the event so special is that it brings Chinese and non-Chinese people together on a grand scale to showcase their talents and renew friendships.”

This year’s program builds on previous events and will include performances representing a broader background than ever before, according to Zhen Liu, president of the Chinese Club of Western New York.

“That diversity is a sign of growing pride in the Chinese-American community,” says Liu.

UB’s celebration comes one day after the actual arrival of the Chinese New Year, a date determined by the lunar calendar. One of 12 different animals represents each of the calendar’s annual cycles -- 2018 is the Year of the Dog.

According to myth, people born in the year of the dog exhibit intense loyalty in all of their relationships, whether friends, family members or work colleagues.

Recent dog years include 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006, beginning their 12-month cycle generally in late January or early February because of the lunar rather than solar reference point.

In China, the arrival of the lunar New Year is a public holiday celebrated in many ways.

At UB, approximately 250 performers will take the stage during the afternoon program that will honor both traditional and contemporary elements of Chinese culture.

Highlights include:

Lion Dance: Gold Summit Martial Arts Institute

  • Lion Dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion’s movements to bring good luck.

Spring embroidery

  • A graceful and joyous dance performed by the CC-WNY high school dance group.

Big Fish: City Honors High School Chinese Language Student Chorus

  • The song “Big Fish” interprets a story of love that is as deep as the sea.

Picking Osmunda: Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart

  • The dance, inspired by a poem in the ancient Chinese Book of Songs, depicts women picking vegetables, symbolizing a peaceful and prosperous village life.

A Lovely Rose: Xinjiang Male and Female Group Dance

  • “A Lovely Rose” is a household folk song that depicts how young hearts are bewitched by the song.

“This is a wonderful way to draw attention to Chinese language, culture and traditions as a unique heritage shared by our growing Chinese community with the broader Western New York community,” says Stephen Dunnett, UB professor and vice provost for international education. “The New Year celebration provides a large and enthusiastic audience for this important cultural outreach by our Confucius Institute.”

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