Posted on July 2, 2012
An interesting project – building a cultural bridge between the UK and China –has begun in south-east London. In June, Goldsmiths, University of London launched the Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance with inspirational speeches from Chinese and UK officials and beautiful performances from artists from both countries.
Working in partnership with the Beijing Dance Academy, studies at the Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance at Goldsmiths will include Mandarin, Chinese performance arts and dance, Chinese culture and kung fu and t’ai chi.
There are over 300 Confucius Institutes in 105 countries. Their aim is to promote Chinese language and culture, and support Chinese teaching and cultural exchanges. Each institute determines its own specialist programme of activity.
China’s ambassador Liu Xiaoming said: “This is the first Confucius Institute focused on art and performance. Learning Mandarin is an essential part of learning Chinese culture. Goldsmiths has produced great artists and I hope this wonderful adventure will bring new stories of friendship between China and the UK.”
Just before the performances Madame Xu Lin, chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), closed the speeches reflecting, “This partnership is a fertile ground for new styles in dance… They will not necessarily be Western or Eastern; they will be a combination of the two.”
Students from Goldsmiths and from China performed a series of contemporary and classic dances. There was Chinese poetry written and recited by an English student from Goldsmiths, and an opera singer from the university sang in Mandarin.
The Institute lessons will start in the new term.
Photograph © Geny Caloisi