Liverpool celebrates Lunar New Year with ancient dance

By Larry Neild in Liverpool, Britain ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-01-30 07:37:34

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A Chinese dancer living in Britain has revived a 2,000-year-old traditional dance as a centerpiece of a feast of entertainment to welcome the Lunar New Year of the Horse.

Fenfen Huang from Linhai in Zhejiang province wants a British audience to experience the colorful spectacles that dominate television screens across China.

Huang, director of a Liverpool-based arts and culture company, China Pearl, has choreographed an evening of Chinese dance and music on Feb 1 to be performed at the Unity Theatre in her adopted city.

The highlight will be what Huang believes is the first ever performance in Britain of a dance devised more than 2,000 years ago in China.

Huang explains: "The old dance is a traditional Chinese Han-Tang dance called Xiang He Ge (Xiang He Ballad). It was choreographed by Professor Sun Yin from the Beijing Dance Academy, who has been devoted to developing traditional Han Chinese dance for many years. I reworked the old dance with my dance group in Liverpool.

"The piece is based on Your Collar, a famous ancient poem from Shi Jing (Book of Songs), an early collection of Chinese poetry and one of the Five Classics of Confucianism," she says. "The girls chant the poem and dance on and off drums creating rhythms with their feet to express their affection for absent loved ones.

"I want to present this piece to share with a British audience the traditional dance, music, literature and costumes from more than 2,000 years ago in China, which reflect the diversity and depth of Chinese culture."

The show also includes a range of Chinese dance and music.

"Our audience will learn about Chinese history, literature, ethnicity and the integration of Chinese culture in British society," Huang says.

Events in Liverpool's Chinatown will include lantern-making workshops, a rare chance to see Europe's leading Chinese orchestra, the Liverpool Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra, and traditional dragon dancing.

City council member Wendy Simon, assistant mayor of Liverpool and the city's cultural chief, says: "Liverpool excels when it comes to celebrating Chinese New Year. Each year thousands of visitors are always overwhelmed by the spectacle they are greeted with as the city celebrates its Chinese roots and community."

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