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Giddy-up! It's the Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year celebration

UB will celebrate the Year of the Horse with a free performance on Feb. 2 in the Center for the Arts.

By PATRICIA DONOVAN

Published February 6, 2014

The UB Confucius Institute (UBCI) and the Chinese Club of Western New York (CCWNY) will celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year of the (energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able) Horse on Feb. 2 with a free public performance of music, dance and Chinese martial arts.

The popular event will take place from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Mainstage theater in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

The show will feature lively music, colorful dance and performances by scores of artists from China, UBCI students and members of CCWNY. There will be no public dinner this year.

“The celebration of Lunar New Year is shared by several countries and regions in east and southeast Asia, which go far beyond the Chinese community,” says Stephen Dunnett, vice provost for international education at UB. 

Eric Yang, executive officer of the Confucius Institute, says highlights this year include “a performance on the guzheng (the traditional Chinese plucked zither) by Daisy Wu, an award-winning professional Chinese musician who is currently a visiting professor of music at Alfred University; the ever-popular Dragon Dance, which as we know brings good luck to all; and a demonstration of Chinese martial arts performed by members of the Gold Summit Martial Art Institute.”

“The audience also will see many more western faces among the performers this year,” he says.

The program:

  • “The little swallow/The little white boat,” “Laughing out loud/Looking for friends” and “The Sun, the Moon and the Star” performed by a youth chorus led by Vickie Chang
  • A children’s dance,  “Lovely Jasmine Flower”
  • A Tibetan solo dance, “Zhou Ma,” performed by Helen Xu
  • A Mongolian dance, “Little Horse Riders” 
  • “Fighting the Typhoon,” an intense and dynamic contemporary piece from the repertoire of the Chinese stringed instrument, the guzheng
  • A Korean dance, “Mei A Li”
  • The “Grand Paganini Etudes in G sharp minor,” performed by David Wang
  • A group dance, “Flying Skirts”
  • An orchestral performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48, Movement II”
  • A solo dance, “Auspicious Sky,” performed by Jennifer Zhang
  • “Happy Little Hand Drummers,” a Uyghur dance

According to Chinese culture, “those born in the year of the horse are said to have ingenious communication abilities and tend to be in the community limelight, which they enjoy very much,” says Jiyuan Yu, professor of philosophy at UB and director of UBCI.

“They are clever, kind to others, and — although they sometimes talk too much and can be hot-tempered — cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn,” he says, adding that those born in the Year of the Horse like entertainment and large crowds, are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure. 

Celebrity “horses” include Theodore Roosevelt, Jennifer Lawrence, John Cusack, Warren Buffet, Elvis Costello, Judge Judy, Sean Connery, Ulysses Grant, Jackie Chan, Denzel Washington, Rutherford B. Hayes, Harrison Ford, Ashton Kutcher, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock and Kristen Stewart.