Frankly, I didn’t expect too many surprises from yesterday’s Chinese Cultural Evening. Of course, China has more than 5000 years of History to choose traditions, events and dances from, but eventually most of what we see of it at LPC limits itself to our yet amazing Lion, Dragon and Fan Dances. However, I must admit that CCE was still quite a blast and even the Lions, Dragons and Fan Dancers were able to surprise me a tiny bit more than ever before.
It was amazing to see our Firstyear Lions and Dragons perform. I hear many comments in the crowd, that matched my own thoughts, like “Oh, this was us just one year ago” or “Aww, they are so cute doing these simple tricks” (I mean, we have seen brilliant stuff by our co-years and secondyears, but they are doing this longer already, too!). Especially the Boys Dragon Team really blew me off with their energetic performance. Swirling their dragon around, screaming “He Ha Haaa” at the top of their lungs and already pulling off various tricks and positions, I could see the sparkles in their eyes. This was their first really big Dragon Performance and I recognized how proud they were of that. It was an extremely powerful performance and prove to us Secondyears that once we are gone in a few months, the many LPC traditions and legacies will still go on, even without us – and that we were simply part of making them last. That’s a wonderful feeling.
One of the most touching performances of the evening was in my eyes the Fan Dance. I was absolutely speechless after that dance. It was mesmerizing! Full of grace, elegance and poise, the girls dazzled the whole audience with their swirling fans and flowing dresses. CCE had bought new dresses and fans for this performance, and had set up a new and even more intriguing choreography. Hence, watching the CCE Fan Dance was a completely new experience!
Another highlight of the show were of course, as I already said, the Firstyear Lions. They performed their usual routine, but also added some special tricks. The male Lions had a small solo with HipHop, while the girl Lions danced classical ballet! Especially the later was something I have never seen before and was therefore both entertaining and charming, especially as it was totally unexpected! Bravo!
The whole CCE by the Firstyears was built around the plot of a girl and disguised poet, who time travel through Chinese history by a mysterious box and thereby grow closer and closer. This storyline was interrupted by the Secondyear Scene, another definite climax of the whole evening. The secondyears told us the story of Adam and Jayla, a couple that eagerly wanted to marry, but couldn’t, because Jayla’s older sister, Tinny, wasn’t yet. “All I want is a boyfriend”, Tinny complained towards her sister. On the screen built up behind the three, a powerpoint sheet was projected: “Anuptaphobia (n.) Fear of being single, common disease in China”. To help Tinny, Adam and Jayla convinced her to let them find her a boyfriend. “Look sweetie,” Jayla explained to her sister, “Don’t worry, there are currently 705,006,156 men and only 600,000,000 women in China.” Excited, Tinny jumped around: “One hundred thousand more guys than girls to choose from!” “Yes, and therefore you may choose from the best of the best of the best of the best men of China!”. Jayla and Adam presented a long line of guys to Tinny, who was overcome by joy and chance. She chose her darling, they became married instantly, and everybody was happy – especially Adam and Jayla.
Five years later, the four came together again. Adam and Jayla now had two children, Ryan and Michelle, and Jayla one son, Teddy. They celebrated a family re-union, and while Adam’s family waited for Tinny’s to come, Michelle and Ryan told their parents what they had learned in school: “Daddy, we learned the alphabet today!” Michelle announced proudly. “Yes, A is for Apple,” Ryan added. “B for Biscuit!” “And C for Candy!” Jayla and Adam smiled at each other, and Adam clapped his hands : “Look Jayla, our kids are so lovely, all the words they know are food!” “Oh Daddy,” Michelle interrupted him, “I remembered another one: D is for dog!” The whole audience burst out laughing. Meanwhile, Teddy and Tinny had arrived, and Tinny immediately grasped onto the chance of showing off the skills of her son, too: “Teddy! Show Aunt Jayla your Ballet talent! And what does A stand for, Teddy?” Teddy stared at his mother for a second, his brain cells working hard. Then he remembered: “Appoggiatura!” Tinny smiled happily and went on: “And B?” Unsure, Teddy tried it with “Batrachivorous?” Tinny clapped her hands. And finally, as it had to come…: “Teddy, so what does C stand for?” Awkward Silence. Teddy tried to hide behind Ryan and Michelle, till he decided to improvise: “Cylinder?” Tinny completely lost her mind.
“OH MY GOD, TEDDY! You forgot Chronosynchronicity?! You can’t remember a single word, how will you survive in this competitive world? You’ll end at McDonalds! You are such a shame, Teddy.” Grabbing her bag and husband, Tinny left stage. Halfway, she turned around. “Oh, Teddy. At least don’t forget to study for your SAT tonight!” Jayla put her hands around Adam, shocked: “But Tinny, sister, he’s only four!” The lights went off and the scene closed under roaring laughter of the audience. Making fun of the own culture and prejudices of such always evokes the best reactions in Cultural Evenings.
In the end, the Secondyear Dragons and Lions performed, too. The boys Dragons were lead by our Chemistry and TOK teacher Jon, who’s a UWC Alumnus himself. The Lions used tables to perform on for the first time ever – a dangerous and therefore even more mesmerizing act, as one can easily slip off the tables, or they can move apart. I found especially the dragons absolutely brilliant.
All in all, this Cultural Evening was just as memorable as all other Cultural Evenings I have witnessed in my LPC time. It reminded us of the culture we daily live in, brought Chinese tradition back to our hearts and minds and prove that our local firstyears are just as creative and awesome as our local and Chinese co-years. Two hours of entertainment and an all-rounded, fascinating show – what more could one wish for! Thank you CCE for this wonderful night. You kept your promise; this show was brilliant!