By Christina Deng Morrison
 
On a chilly January night, a sizzling Chinese New Year feast melted the Twin Cities.

cc10-02
 
“Carnival China Style”- 2010 Chinese New Year's Gala, the well anticipated dazzling Chinese stage performance by the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Ensemble, sponsored by the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, debuted at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theatre on Jan. 10. China’s 60 top performing artists charmed the Twin Cities audience with the latest achievements of Chinese art through a vibrant blend of singing, dancing, opera, folk music and acrobatics. Approximately 2,500 enthusiastic spectators, who represented a good mixture of the local Chinese speaking population and the mainstream English speaking public, filled the theatre and experienced an eye-popping first class production. Among them were Consul Huang Ping of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago and Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State of Minnesota.

By Christina Deng Morrison
 
On a chilly January night, a sizzling Chinese New Year feast melted the Twin Cities.

cc10-02
 
“Carnival China Style”- 2010 Chinese New Year's Gala, the well anticipated dazzling Chinese stage performance by the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Ensemble, sponsored by the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, debuted at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theatre on Jan. 10. China’s 60 top performing artists charmed the Twin Cities audience with the latest achievements of Chinese art through a vibrant blend of singing, dancing, opera, folk music and acrobatics. Approximately 2,500 enthusiastic spectators, who represented a good mixture of the local Chinese speaking population and the mainstream English speaking public, filled the theatre and experienced an eye-popping first class production. Among them were Consul Huang Ping of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago and Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State of Minnesota.
 
“Carnival China Style” is a special spring festival gala evening jointly envisioned and created for overseas viewers by the Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese and China Broadcasting Performing Arts Ensemble. The 2010 “Carnival China Style” gala is intended to highlight the aspects of ethnicity, popularity and folkloristic nature of Chinese culture, capture its vitality, strength of characters and showcase the magnificent Chinese civilization.
 
“Tonight's performance will serve as a bridge of understanding and friendship between the people of China and the U.S.," said Mr. Huang during his opening speech.
 
The night showcased a diverse selection of Chinese artists, and exhibited a variety of traditional and modern Chinese performances which reflected the depth and grace of China culture in a festival Chinese New Year setting that was both inviting and inspirational. The Twin Cities audience acquired a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to witness China's finest performing arts, glitzy costumes and contemporary Chinese stage techniques.
 
The show also portrayed the rich and diversified Chinese cultures by performers from the Han, Uighur, Mongolian, Tibetan, Miao (Hmong) and Yi minorities.
While there were more than a dozen meticulously selected and breathtaking performances, several piqued the strong interest of the audience and captured their hearts.
 
The “Xianghe Ge” or “The Song of Harmony”, performed by a group of young and graceful dancers from Beijing Dance Academy who sang and danced by stepping on musical trays and drums, blended unique ancient music, verse and exquisite dance into a cultural tour of China’s Han dynasty.
 
The American audience, especially the younger ones, watched in awe and squealed when the hula hoop girl, Linlin Jin, a world renowned Guinness Book of Records breaker, jumped onto the stage. She gave an astounding masterpiece performance by skillfully dancing with numerous hula hoops, creating a mesmerizing illusion of flying silver snakes.
 
Following her act, two young performers Jiayin Liu and Chunpu Bai calmly twisted and bended backward in “Contemporary Contortion". Their incredible and seemingly precarious acts through the utilization their waists, legs, upper bodies not only defined the quintessence of traditional acrobatics, but also took the limits of extreme flexibility and endurance to new heights.
 
Americans have long been fascinated by Tibet. “Snow Lotus”, a three sister group from Tibet, sang a heavenly vocal harmony of "Qinghai-Tibet Plateau". Their singing is highly characterized by traditional energy and modern style, painting a vivid picture that led the audience into a vast and boundless plateau and distant snow mountain top in a remote yet mysterious land.
 
Sarenhu, a well known Mongolian singer, with her striking eye-catching decorative costumes, performed an expressive solo soprano “Hymn”- a long toned Mongolian melody with its distinctive features of nomadic lifestyles and regional culture. This type of melody has been recognized and awarded by UNESCO as “A Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
 
Qiong Wu’, a popular Huangmei Opera singer in China, conquered the audience by singing pieces with varying tones and characters from Peking Opera, Yue Opera, Henan (Yu) Opera and Huangmei Opera, the four of which are considered a best representation of the 300 types of Chinese regional operas. Qiong Wu’s clear and crisp voice, along with her classical pose left the audience with a long lasting impression.
 
In “String Instruments Ensemble”, eight highly proficient musicians brought with them a widely loved classical tune “Moonlit Night on Spring River”. Playing the traditional Chinese fiddle (erhu), pipa, yue qin (a four-stringed plucked instrument with a full-moon shaped sound box), dulcimer and flutes, they presented a sensational performance that evoked animated applause from the audience. The Chinese speaking audience, in particular, listened with sheer jubilance and excitement.
 
“The Yuefu’s Music and Art", with a half dozen talented painting artists and performing artists, blended live painting and calligraphy, with music and dance into   a one-of-a kind brilliant performance which has also been awarded by UNESCO as “ Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. The melodious piano, gentle dancing and splashing of ink underlined the highlights of profound and enriched Chinese cultural inherence and history.
 
“Somber Night’, adapted from a well known Peking opera fiddle and dance performance, and played by Kemei Jiang, the most popular Hu Qin master in modern China who has won worldwide praise, is a highly claimed classical piece. Dressed in the traditional color red, Jiang, with her usual elegant style and skilled confidence, creatively took this appealing traditional piece, with its hardness and somberness, to a new height that was echoingly touching and soulful.
 
The impeccable performance, ended by an amazing finale with the entire cast in one last stunning act, brought the evening’ gala to a close- a truly delicious Chinese New Year feast enjoyed by everybody!
 
“I bought VIP tickets of this show for my big family as my Christmas presents to them! I have to say that our whole family loved it! It is definitely the first class”, said Jasper Li, a Chinese IT professional from American Medical System in the Twin Cities. He was wearing a traditional Chinese attire with ancient Chinese coin patterns. Li invited a family of seven of three generations to watch the show. “I really like the String Instruments Ensemble myself. Even in China, you don’t' get a chance to see a performance of this kind very often". He added.
 
“I had a great time tonight. The performers were awesome. I especially love the hula hoop girl, the contortionists and the musicians”. Said Travis Sagedahl, the Interacting Marketing Manager at the Hennepin Theatre Trust.
 
Post Script
“Carnival China Style"-2010 Chinese New Year’s Gala was the largest event ever organized and hosted by the local Chinese community. A group of avid Chinese community professionals volunteered and dedicated a substantial amount of time preparing and launching this event. From the selection of the theatre, to the accommodations, to the targeting of specific audiences from different walks of life, to the back stage/backdrop technical preparation, coordination and translation, these volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure the seamless operation. This event set an excellent example of strong capabilities, responsibilities and the cohesion demonstrated by the local Chinese community that is little known to the mainstream public. Chinese organizations, large and small, as well as other individuals also sponsored or contributed to this event.

See all photos from "Carnival China Style" in PHOTO GALLERY!

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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