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Colorful China raises relief funds
Photo by Stephanie Metzger

May 2, 2013

By Stephanie Metzger

The Confucius Institute at Cleveland State University hosted the Ethnic Dances: Colorful China Charity Show on Saturday to raise relief funds for victims of the Sichuan earthquake that occurred in China last week.

The earthquake was recorded at a magnitude of 7.0 and killed nearly 200 people, injuring at least 11,000. Tens of thousands are reported homeless. Five years ago, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the exact same area, killing 69,000.

The Main Classroom Auditorium was filled with spectators and supporters, including Cleveland State President Ronald Berkman and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Students of South-Central University for Nationalities performed 14 different dances and musical acts to kick off their 2013 tour. The university is located in Wuhan, the capital city of the Chinese province of Hubei.

One of the most captivating perfomances was “Changing Face,” performed by a representative of Sichuan Opera. The dancer wore a series of colorful masks, inspired by dragons, which he switched with the simple flash of his hand, inciting a gasp of awe from the audience.

Other performances featured a showcase of martial arts skills, a cucurbit flute solo and a piano duet by Zou Chon and Zacary Lynn. Lynn, a linguistics and piano performance double-major, spoke briefly to the audience on the benefits of Cleveland State’s Confucius Institute.

“The Confucius Institute offers a lot of great opportunities for Chinese,” Lynn said. “I had the opportunity to compete in competitions and take standardized tests to improve my level and push me.”

The final performance of the evening was the “Hand-and-Foot Swaying Dance”, an elaborate and colorful dance by the Tujia Ethnic Group.

The goal for the performers and those hosting the event was to enlighten and educate the audience on Chinese culture and art.

“This is a rare opportunity to appreciate many different art forms from China,” said Dr. Grace Huang, Confucius Institute associate director. “China has a very diverse culture, which many people in Cleveland might not realize. We want to share this diverse culture with the audience.”

As the final dance came to a close, audience members were invited to join the performers on stage. Several chose to do so as they linked hands with the performers and formed a dance circle.

After the show, refreshments were served and the audience had the opportunity to meet with the performers and take pictures with them.

The Confucius Institute plans to donate all proceeds from ticket sales of the event to victims of the Sichuan earthquake.

If you would like to donate to the fund, write a check out to “Cleveland State University” with “Sichuan Earthquake Relief” in the memo.