Chinese New Year celebration at UB features traditional, contemporary performing arts

Chinese students perform a traditional Chinese dance.

The sixth annual Chinese New Year celebration at UB will feature traditions that include traditional Chinese dance.

Release Date: January 25, 2016 This content is archived.

“This celebration is for Chinese people, and it is also for many Asian people and for people in Western New York and across America. It is becoming a global event.”
Jiyuan Yu, director, Confucius Institute
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo’s Confucius Institute and the Chinese Club of Western New York will present their sixth annual Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 7 from 2:30-5 p.m. at UB’s Center for the Arts.

The popular free event often fills the CFA’s Mainstage Theatre to capacity with impressive performances that illuminate the beauty of Chinese art, culture and language through music, storytelling, comedic dialogue and martial arts.

“This celebration is for Chinese people, and it is also for many Asian people and for people in Western New York and across America,” says Jiyuan Yu, UB professor of philosophy and director of the Confucius Institute. “It is becoming a global event.”

“We are from different cultural traditions, but we are sitting together to enjoy and learn from each other’s culture,” he says. “This is a beautiful picture, and this is what makes living in Buffalo and in America so great, no matter how cold the weather.”

This year’s celebration actually takes place on the eve of the Chinese New Year, a holiday based on the lunar calendar.  Each annual cycle is represented by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and 2016 is the year of the monkey.

In China, the arrival of the lunar New Year’s is a public holiday celebrated in many ways.  On the CFA stage, the diversity of commemorating the event is condensed into a cultural showcase.

“In China, the specific celebrations depend on the region and customs,” says Emily Sheng, president of the Chinese Club of Western New York.” “It’s as though we’re taking the different ways people celebrate and combine them all into one show.”

Sheng says approximately 150 CC-WNY members from variety of CC-WNY dance groups and chorus groups will perform at the gala show. The highlight programs are: Miao, Xijiang and Tibetan group dances; solo Jiang dance and waltz dance; a folk chorus performance inspired by the film “Miao Miao;” a musical performance on the traditional Chinese instrument “hulusi,” a clay flute; and numerous singing performances.

Other highlights include a powerful vocal performance by two top Chinese language students at City Honors School, says Bruce Acker, associate director of the Confucius Institute.

“The artistry of this performance and all the afternoon’s other performances will be fantastic,” he says.

The afternoon also features:

  • A vocal performance of “Beijing Welcomes You,” the 2008 Summer Olympic Games theme song, by students from Nardin Academy.
  • ·Musical performances by the orchestra and chorus from Lewiston-Porter High School.
  • Xiangsheng, or Chinese cross-talk, a traditional humorous dialogue style by students from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.
  • A vocal performance by the student chorus at Fletcher Elementary School.
  • A performance of various Chinese folk songs by the Lewiston-Porter High School Orchestra, plus the school’s chorus.

“More than 80 students will perform,” says Yu.  “It’s an impressive show that also demonstrates how American students are enjoying music from different cultures.”

The celebration also features a martial arts demonstration by the Gold Summit Martial Arts Institute with Shifu Erin Markle performing and leading students in various kung-fu styles.

While many of the performances are traditional, the afternoon also features some of China’s most famous contemporary music.

The Confucius Institute, which places instructors in classrooms as early as kindergarten, combining Chinese cultural education with Mandarin language instruction, will present their annual awards recognizing student excellence in Chinese language study.

CC-WNY is the largest not-for-profit Chinese ethnic organization in the area. The club provides year round events, activities and education for its members and the Western New York community.

The institute has more information about the celebration. Contact UB’s Bruce Acker at 716-645-7919 or Details are also available at or

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