Feb 14, 2013
Text by Kristyn Repke; photos by Chris Franz
Hundreds of Ohio University students, staff and Athens residents filled Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium on February 10 to celebrate the Year of the Snake at the Chinese New Year Gala. The Chinese Student Scholars Association (CSSA), an organization representing nearly 1,000 Chinese students on Ohio University’s campus, put together the festivities.
The Spring Festival Gala included 18 different performance numbers, including singing, dancing, skits, instrumental pieces, traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Many of the performances were performed in Chinese, but introductions and English subtitles helped non-Chinese speaking audience members to fully understand and enjoy the show.
Jim Zhu, CSSA faculty advisor and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, said the celebration is very important to the Athens community.
“For Chinese students who cannot be with their family to celebrate the holiday in China, this gala is a chance for them to feel at home,” said Zhu. “It is also a chance for audience members of other nationalities to have a first-person experience with the people, culture and tradition of China.”
The celebration continued with a traditional Chinese dinner held in Baker Ballroom. Performers and audience members ate and socialized together in celebration of this most important traditional Chinese holiday.
The opening show was the “Dragon Dance,” a traditional dance and piece in Chinese culture. The dragon weaved through the audience and onto the stage to open the celebration. Hundreds of people of all ages and nationalities enjoyed the day’s festivities.
The gala involved performers of all different backgrounds and ages. Students from the Athens Chinese Culture Center, pictured above, performed a five-song medley of traditional pieces sung in Chinese. In addition to Ohio University staff and students, participants in the Chinese New Year Gala included students from Ohio State University and Arizona State University.
Sandra Zhao, an Ohio University doctoral student, performs with an umbrella in traditional costume during the “Spring Shower” dance. A majority of the costumes were made in China and brought over to the United States specifically for the Chinese New Year Gala.
The costumes featured bright colors and elaborate detail, as seen on the dress pictured above. All costumes, props and production costs were provided through the fundraising efforts of CSSA, donations by colleges and funds allocated through the International Student Union.
Ruby Zhang performed a number of pieces on the traditional Chinese instrument known as the Chinese zither, or Gu Zheng. The 21-string instrument, performed by plucking the strings, is one of the most ancient and popular instruments in Chinese culture. Zhang played the zither during the “Spring of Snow Mountain” piece and during Tai Chi dance pieces performed by Chenxing Wei and Warren Taylor.