Tuesday, September 30, 2014

An Impromptu Visit to China

While Saint Louis may not have an ocean to dive into or mountains to climb...family friendly activities abound.  Last Sunday we had no plans for the day, but with a little Googling, Steve had found a wonderful activity for Natalie and I to enjoy together. Not only was it free but it was located walking distance from our home.  Webster University hosted a 10th anniversary celebration of the Confucius Institute.  The university was among the first to have an Institute.  Today there are 90 across the United States -- more than 400 Confucius Institutes throughout the world.  The purpose of these non-profit institutes is to promote Chinese language and culture and facilitate cultural exchanges.

What a treat! 

The performance was held in the auditorium of Webster's Community Music School.  The 13 act show performed by students from Beijing Normal University featured a medley of traditional Chinese artistic expression including; dance, martial arts, music, calligraphy and opera.

If you missed the performance, but are interested in learning more -- Webster University is hosting a series of events during the month of October beginning with an exhibit featuring traditional Chinese art. The exhibit opens on Sunday, October 5th from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. at The Old Orchard Gallery at 39B South Old Orchard, Webster Groves.  Artists will be present at the opening and a limited quantity of signed photo books will be available.  Light refreshments will be served.  Admission is FREE.  The art exhibit will run 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, October 6th through October 22nd.

The opening number combined dance with martial arts.  The piece was called Flying Dragon
The pipa (pronounced pea-pa) is the most popular Chinese instrument.
A four string instrument and one of the oldest with more than 2,000 years of history.
Song of Xiang He
This one was one of our favorites.  They sang and danced on, around and over the drums.
"I don't know what they were saying, but it was pretty," shared Natalie
We got a taste of Beijing Opera called Guifei Zuijiu. 
While we weren't fans of the songs, we did love his dramatic make-up and flamboyant ensemble.

Male Group Dance: Story of my Hometown
Group Chinese Instrument Ensemble
This piece was called Fascinating Dunhuang
The Propitious Tree
The Dream of Nanna.
A dance that tells the story of a girl who lives in the mountains, but longs for another life elsewhere.
The Euphrates Poplar
This piece celebrated the 56 ethnic groups that make up China.

Natalie - with all of the performers.
She was tickled to find two cakes on the Webster U. campus


  1. WOW WOW WOW! What an experience for you both to see this! It looks amazing...

    1. It really was a good time. We are blessed to live in a town that offers so many events that are free, fun and educational.