On February 11, 2013 members of the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona visited Esperero Canyon Middle School in Tucson to provide performances relating to the Chinese Lunar New Year. This school lies in a beautiful landscape; there was a little snow that day, but the students were very warm to our team. The school allowed about 200 students to participate in this event from 12:25 to 1:25 PM.
In the beginning, Dongxiao Zhang performed “Yu Zhou Chang Wan” on the guzheng. The students all indulged in this charming melody and when they learned about the millennia-long history of the guzheng, they were shocked! Mr. Zhang also performed “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” on the ruan, after which he was joined on stage by two students who could play guitar. Later, Ms. Ying Yuan introduced students to the Chinese zodiac by way of a book on traditional Chinese paper-cuts. She taught the students to learn the twelve animals of the zodiac in Chinese. The students were very interested in paper-cutting and two came to the stage to learn the proper techniques for cutting paper. Both of them created a new design under the instruction of Ms. Yuan.
The third part of this event was martial arts practice. Mr. Junming Zhao selected 40 students as volunteers to take part in the instruction. First they engaged in warm-up exercises and then the students learned to practice Shaolin Quan. Even the school principal was enticed to practice martial arts with the students!
The Chinese culture show was very successful at Esperero Canyon Middle School. The students were often heard to remark “amazing” during the performances. When the show was over, some students didn’t want to leave and crowded around the guzheng, ruan and martial arts weapons to have a closer look.