Xiamen dancers dazzle Ft Meade

Updated: 2014-10-03 08:33

By LIU CHANG in Washington(China Daily USA)

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Xiamen dancers dazzle Ft Meade

The students art troupe of Xiamen University perform traditional Chinese dances and music at the Meade High School. Xinli Zhan (third from left on the second row), vice-president of Xiamen University, and John Yore (fourth from left on the second row), principal of Meade High School, thank the audience after the performance. [LIU CHANG / CHINA DAILY]

Confucius Institutes play an increasingly positive role in promoting the understanding among high school students of Chinese language and culture. They improve their Chinese competency and strengthen the friendship between the youth of the two countries.

In celebration of the institutes' tenth anniversary, scores of college students from Xiamen University performed traditional Chinese dances and music on a tour of the US east coast. They come as representatives of Hanban, the executive body of the Chinese Language Council International, a non-governmental and non-profit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China.

On Oct 3 the student performers took the stage at Ft Meade, Maryland's Meade Senior High School, whose Confucius Classrooms are under the Confucius Institute of the University of Maryland. Their performance featured bamboo flute solo, pipa ensemble, Guzheng solo, and erhu solo.

The "Bridge Friendship Grand Performance" was organized by Hanban, and sponsored by the Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware, the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland, the Confucius Institute at Old Dominion University and Xiamen University.

From Sept 26 through Oct 5, there are a total of nine performances by the group from Xiamen University at the University of Maryland, the University of Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania, the Caesar Rodney High School, De, the Meade High School, Md, the Barrie School, Md, the Paint Branch Elementary School, Md, and the Roper Theater in Norfolk, Va.

Xinli Zhan, vice-president of Xiamen University, said that promoting Chinese culture and language should start in elementary schools and high schools in the US.

"It is important that children start to show an early interest in learning Chinese culture," she said.

Zhan mentioned that many high school students, after they graduate, go to China for summer camp or choose to study abroad. When those students go to camp in China, they are excited to learn about Chinese arts, such as Kung Fu, Tai Chi and paper cutting, she said.

In recent years, the US has put a premium on the importance of the US-China relationship. In 2009, President Barack Obama announced the "100,000 Strong" initiative, an effort dedicated to increasing the number and diversifying the composition of American students studying in China. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the initiative in May 2010 in Beijing.

John Yore, principal of Meade High School, said his son started to learn Chinese as an elementary school student, adding that he would love to send his children and students to China to take part in some cultural exchange programs with Chinese schools.

"It is a beautiful country with a rich history," said Yore.

Michael Schnitezer, who has been learning Chinese for six years, enjoyed the performance.

"I really liked it," he said. "My favorite part was the dances. They are really elegant. The Chinese culture shows so much. I want to see more."