On September 25, in Hartsville, South Carolina, dozens of people gathered in Coker College's Watson Theater to be informed about a culture much unlike its own. Professional musicians, dancers, and a Tai Chi master from China along with a few select students from the Governor's School of Science and Mathematics joined together to astound the Hartsville community with beautiful performances from traditional Chinese culture.
The event began at 7:30 and lasted for approximately an hour and a half. According to the bulletin provided by the event, there were thirteen total performances with six professionals, four students, and commentators. It began with a traditional group fan dance from four Governor School students (Ivey Li, Nancy Ou, Nitya Muppala and Abbie Bowman) with one individual, Senior Ivey Li, performing a solo ribbon dance in the middle of the overall show. The rest of the program included poetry readings, musicians, singing, dancing, and Tai Chi. There was also background information on each instrument and the meaning behind the poems.
The bulletin also lists the world-renowned performers. Ming Ke played the pipa and ruan with fierce passion and even performed with her eyes closed. Chen Lan sang poetry; her voice was said to chill the audience members' spines. Violet Li is a Ta Chi master and excelled with a sword; her movements were fluid and water-like. Li Huang danced in traditional Chinese outfits that captivated the audience's attention. Jia Jia gave the audience a unique Chinese flute performance and Tu Shuai introduced the guqin that most Westerners recognize from the famous scene of Hero (2002) between the battle of Nameless and Sky.
Overall, the performance was by far one of the best that the Hartsville community had the pleasure of experiencing. There are hopes that later in the year or perhaps next year, more of these cultural events can be enjoyed by the public with these performers. Thank you to Professor Keith Knapp and Dr. Ningji He for giving background information and a presentation, Andrew Mullin as the M.C., all of the performers, Jia Jia for graphic designs, Joshua Webb and his crew for arranging lighting and music, Dr. Li and Chinese Culture Club for hosting, and finally Whitney Watts for helping set up the event. Another thank you to The Office of Provost, The Student Experience Center, The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, and the Trans4mation Office for sponsoring the event.