Chinese headliners at festival of cultures

By Staff Reporter

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The Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre dragon dancers will be headlining at the Whanganui Festival of Cultures next month.
The Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre dragon dancers will be headlining at the Whanganui Festival of Cultures next month.

The Whanganui Festival of Cultures, now in its 6th year, has secured renowned Chinese cultural performance troupe The Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre (WCSCC) to headline this year's event.

WCSCC formed their first lion dance group in 1999 and since then have been asked to perform all over New Zealand as well as competing in international competitions.

A regular fixture at Chinese New Year events in the lower North Island the troupe comprises Chinese and non-Chinese members ranging in age from 6 to 50.

Accompanied by percussionists the group will perform two different cultural dances at this year's festival, the dragon and lion dance.

Each dance form requires athleticism, team work and coordination.

The dragon dance represents prowess, nobility and good fortune, it is designed to drive out bad spirits and bring good luck. Dragon dance teams comprise upwards of 8 people.

The dragon dance is lead by a dancer holding a sphere which represents a pearl.

Though the dragon may look fearsome it actually represents a benevolent water spirit performed on auspicious occasions.

Alternatively the lion dance is performed by two people in a lion costume, like the dragon the lion is also a mythical creature as lions are not a native species in China.

This dance is also a blessing and designed to bring good luck.

It is traditionally performed by Kung Fu schools to show off their abilities so is very physical and requires a great deal of skill.

"We are thrilled that WCSCC will be joining us this year," says festival coordinator Elise Goodge.

"Up until now we have had no Chinese cultural representation in the performance segment of the festival, this year we have WCSCC and The Chinese Association Whanganui Branch performing, it is wonderful to be able to redress the absence of these cultural forms from previous festivals and bring this remarkable group to Whanganui."

The WCSCC will be performing twice during the Festival of Cultures event, which takes place on Saturday 29 October, first at midday and again at 2.20pm.

Other new additions to this year's festival include The Sri Lankan Dance Academy from Wellington, The Heather School of Dance Highland Dancers and a Jamaican Food Stall.

The Whanganui Festival of Cultures will be held on Saturday 29 October 2016, 10.30am-3.30pm
Majestic Square and Memorial Hall Forecourt or inside the Whanganui War Memorial Centre if wet.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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