To celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon, the Chinese Embassy in Dublin and the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland hosted a Spring Festival Gala at the Convention Centre in Dublin on Wednesday 01 February 2012.
This year’s Spring Festival Gala event at the Convention Centre Dublin brought us singing and dancing into the year of the dragon, with a dazzling array of professional performances from top talents sent by Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council. The year of the dragon is particularly auspicious, and indeed this was the biggest ever Chinese New Year event in Ireland, with around 2,000 guests thronged into the main auditorium.
From L to R: Madam Qiao Li, Mr Enda Kenny, An Taoiseach, Mr Luo Linquan, the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland and Dr Liming Wang, Director of UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland.
Special guests included the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Luo Linquan, An Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny, Mr Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills and several senior ministers of state, ambassadors and leading business figures.
A very rare Lion and Dragon dance performance welcomed the guests as they entered the wonderfully decorated lobby of the Convention Centre, and with the traditional musical accompaniment, this made for a rousing start to the evening.
Dragon dance performance in the lobby.
The performances included an eclectic mix of opera, solo, duet and choral pieces, dazzling acrobatics, graceful dancing and mystifying magic. These were performed by top stars from all over China, including the Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre, Shanghai Song and Dance Troupe, Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, Shanghai National Orchestra and introducing Chinese star Dou Dou Huang on his first visit to Ireland to perform this year. A highlight for our Institute and the Irish guests were performances from Irish secondary school Loreto Bray’s students and UCD BComm with Chinese Studies students singing Chinese songs- guaranteeing all ages were enthralled.
At the event, the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland announced three new “Confucius Classrooms” in Irish schools - Clongowes Wood College S.J., Blackrock College, and Loreto College, Foxrock. These classrooms are dedicated Chinese learning environments and are established in schools nationwide with a particularly strong vision for Chinese language education. Students in schools with “Confucius Classrooms” can study Mandarin and Chinese cultural studies.
These are in addition to the close to 50 schools nationwide delivering Chinese culture and language in association with the Confucius Institute.
Dr. Wang Liming, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute, which oversees the Confucius Classroom programme, says ‘more and more Irish schools are getting involved in our project, and cultural activities like this Spring Festival Gala help to bring the warmth and appeal of Chinese festivals to a broader spectrum of Irish people.’