Dancers, artists from China to perform at Pellissippi State

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A presentation by performers from China’s Hubei University on Feb. 24 at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center showcases Chinese art, dance, music and culture.

Imagine a calligrapher creating a written work of art onstage. Now weave in dancers clothed in colorful costumes, performing traditional Chinese Dragon and Lion dances. Add musicians playing centuries-old songs and martial artists demonstrating their fluid movements.

Audiences of the Chinese troupe performing at Pellissippi State Community College on Feb. 24 will experience this multimedia presentation—a mixture of Chinese art, dance, music and culture.

The free event, to which the community is invited, provides a rare opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in the traditional Chinese arts. The troupe of approximately 30 performers from Hubei University is showcased, incorporating Chinese history and culture as expressed through the various media.

The Chinese Dragon Dance to be performed has been done for more than 5,000 years. Originally a symbol of imperial power, today’s Dragon Dance in China serves more as a symbol of courage, pride and wisdom.

The Lion Dance, which dates back more than 2,000 years, is a joint performance by two dancers. It is typically staged to express joy and happiness when the Chinese celebrate grand events. The art of calligraphy is a combination of physical agility, manual dexterity and artistic precision.

Professor Yiping Yang, associate director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, presents a special lecture prior to the performance. “The Chinese Perspectives of Dragon” will provide guests with Professor Yang’s historic and modern reflections on the cultural importance of the dragon.

The Hubei University performers are visiting in connection with Pellissippi State’s Confucius Classroom. As the 2010 recipient of a prestigious grant from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, Pellissippi State has a full-time instructor from China who teaches language and culture classes.

The college now offers “Beginning Chinese I,” “Beginning Chinese II,” “Intermediate Chinese I” and “Peoples and Culture of China.” By fall 2012, “Intermediate Chinese II” will be added. Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Pellissippi State now have the opportunity to satisfy their foreign language requirement with Mandarin Chinese.

Co-sponsor of the performance and lecture is the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, is devoted to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education in Tennessee.

All activities take place on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The lecture begins at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or