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Delegation brings Sydney a real taste of China

Shaolin monks from the birthplace of Chinese civilisation will bring their spectacular kung fu moves and weaponry to Sydney this month as part of the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival.

With a line-up that’s not to be missed, a delegation of performers from Henan Province will entertain crowds over the weekend of 24 and 25 February on the Community Performance Stage at First Fleet Park in The Rocks.

The delegation comprises of three performance groups – Shaolin monks exercising kung fu, a traditional folk music band and a dance group. The delegation is organised by the Provincial Ministry of Culture.

Henan Province, which is the birthplace of Chinese civilisation with over 3,000 years of recorded history, boasts the Shaolin Temple as one of its many heritage sites. Henan was also China’s cultural, economic and political centre until approximately 1,000 years ago.

The Shaolin monks group, formed to promote traditional Shaolin-style martial arts and Chinese culture, has visited more than 60 countries and will present four performances for CNY18.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was proud to welcome a Henan Province delegation to Sydney to showcase Chinese songs, dance and martial arts.

“This rich display of Shaolin martial arts and music will be a highlight of the festival” the Lord Mayor said. “These are just some of the spectacular shows happening as part of the biggest celebration of the Year of the Dog outside Asia”

Yunlong Shang, leader of the delegation, said: “The monks will perform kung fu in a show called Shaolin Xiang Xing Quan, which presents the principles of Shaolin philosophy and the Buddhist concept that all lives and spirits share the same nature/quality. The formations include the tiger, eagle, scorpion, dog and monkey.

“The Shaolin monks group will also put on a martial arts display, showcasing their skills in a range of weaponry in a performance called Eighteen Arms of Shaolin,” he said.

In addition, the show Shaolin Ying Qigong presents a form of Shaolin martial art that has been practised for hundreds of years. It was originally used to train the body to withstand strong blows and attacks in the days when traditional weapons such as spears, broadswords and knives were in use.

In traditional Shaolin folklore if a practising monk wants to graduate from their monastery they would have to break through eighteen challenges at a mountain gate. Titled Da Shan Men, the story concludes that any monk who wins the challenges would be a master and have the perfect combination of martial arts strength and intuition.

The traditional folk music band and dance group will present a total of seven performances, ranging from Chinese opera, to folk dance to pipa solos (a traditional stringed instrument).

The Chinese opera titled Folk Rhyme Of The Spring Breeze celebrates Spring season and it’s simply natural existence. Conversely, the pipa solo titled Ambush On All Sides is a newly composed version of traditional music, which combines modern instruments and pop rhythms to give a real-life sense of war when two armies are facing each other.

Another pipa solo, known as A Moonlit Night OnThe Spring River, expresses emotions with an elegant tune. This piece of music depicts a landscape painting using “a soft, tasteful and fluid melody as a paintbrush”, Mr Shang said.

A classic dance titled Lotus In The Rain With Light Breeze is a women’s formation with umbrellas – this style is famous throughout China and is known to be very graceful. A folk dance tells the story of some young girls on a spring outing – bringing spring’s rays of warmth to the audience.

“All 22 members of the delegation will perform in Jasmine Flower, which is a popular Chinese folk song and dubbed China’s second national anthem,” Mr Shang said.

Source: City of Sydney

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