On Tuesday, September 29th, the William and Mary Confucius Institute hosted the Chinese Martial Arts Performance at the Kimball Theatre. The award-winning Martial Arts troupe from the Tianjin University of Technology directed, choreographed, and performed this authentic Chinese show, which consisted of intense martial arts, gymnastics, and weapon routines set to heart-pounding music.
WMCI organizes a variety of cultural performances each year in order to spread Chinese culture at the College and in the surrounding communities. This performance was one of the most attended, with over 350 members of the College and the community enjoying the show.
The Tianjin University of Technology Martial Arts Troupe is internationally ranked, having earned gold medals in over 150 global competitions. The acclaimed status of the troupe can be credited to Professors Su Changlai and Xu Caitong, who are international martial arts referees. Su and Xu are both in charge of coaching the twenty individual team members with swords, whips, and hand-to-hand combat.
The action-packed performance tested the limits of the human body and self-discipline. At the start of the show, the emcee announced that martial arts had their basis in ancient Chinese philosophy, demonstrated by the complex routines and physical skills. Among the various skits and scenes, the audience was treated to a group spear show, a display of traditional boxing which imitated five different animals, and a much-beloved ’skit’ that followed a passerby protecting a young woman from robbers. The troupe showed off their mastery of many skills, in various performances such as “Taiji Fan”, “Taiji Sword”, “Baji Boxing”, and the traditional “Martial Arts Whip Routine”.
Before the finale, the team welcomed ten of the youngest audience members up to the stage and presented each of them with fans. Three of the performers, with the help of the emcee, led the children through a series of movements and taught them a basic fan routine. At the end of the lesson, when the kids completed the whole routine in one swift, flowing movement, the audience erupted into applause.
The performance marked the end of a long celebration for the worldwide Confucius Institute Day which was celebrated on September 26th. From September 26th-29th, the WMCI held an Erhu Solo concert, a Mid-Autumn festival celebration, and a lecture by Val Huston, the Principal Commercial Officer of the US Embassy in Beijing. Although the majority of WMCI events are over for the semester, the staff of the institute optimistically looks forward to their Homecoming events, which include performing a dragon dance in the parade and hosting an open house on Friday, October 23rd from 1 to 5 pm at the Rowe House.