We all know that a select few Yalies will go on an all-expenses paid trip with President Levin to visit Hu Jintao this summer. Are you one of them? Fine, go on … gloat about it.
If you aren’t, however, don’t despair. The common folk of Yale can still catch a glimpse of Beijing at the 2007 Chinese New Year Gala Concert and fashion show hosted by the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Yale (ACSSY), a cultural group composed mostly of faculty members, graduate students and postdocs. Come Sunday, Woolsey will be bursting with auspicious Asian celebration and feature both local song and dance acts and a special guest fashion show from China, part of an attempt on the part of the ACSSY to dissolve inaccurate conceptions of modern Chinese culture.
“A lot of everyday American people really don’t know about what Chinese culture is like today,” Rui Gao GRD ’10, who is originally from Beijing, said. “We want to try to convey an image closer to what Chinese people are really like.”
“Moving Forbidden City,” a fashion show featuring designs inspired by the architecture of the historic imperial palace itself, will be the centerpiece of the Gala Concert. The production, conceived by Beijing fashion designer Hu Xiaodan, takes place before a backdrop of scrolling images of the palace’s monuments.
Sixteen professional models from China, along with around 20 volunteer models from the Yale and New Haven communities, will show off Xiaodan’s designs. The pieces visually evoke the palace, echoing the gleaming studs on the vermillion Meridian Gate and the hundred-year-old trees in the Imperial Garden. The show is intended to pay tribute to the history and culture of the Forbidden City.
In addition to the architecture/couture fusion show, the gala event will feature a performance of “Farewell My Concubine,” a Chinese opera, by Jing Zhang, a prominent Beijing performer visiting from China.
Local acts from the Yale and New Haven communities will range from a Tibetan dance, complete with authentic costumes from China, to a showcase of traditional Chinese instruments.
The visit from “Moving Forbidden City” is part of a larger program sponsored by the government of Beijing to promote the city for 2008, and Gao, Yan Wang GRD ’09 and Huaping Tang GRD ’08, ACSSY’s president, are eager to dispel stereotypes about their home country as well.
“Some of my friends ask me, ‘If I go to China, will I get killed or something?’” Wang said. “I want to show them, ‘I am a real Chinese person. This is what we’re like.’”
Tang said that the Chinese government is subsidizing hotel accommodations in New Haven for “Moving Forbidden City,” which has only two scheduled tour performances, in New York City and Los Angeles, and that support has enabled ACSSY to make this year’s Chinese New Year Gala Concert, the fourth annual production of its kind, a larger-scale and, they hope, more prominent event.
The event will be held in Woolsey Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 25.