Students perform in Chinese New Year Gala after 5 months of preparation
The Rutgers Chinese Students and Scholars Association (RCSSA) celebrated the Chinese New Year on Sunday with a performance at the Nicholas Music Center on Douglass campus.
The theater was packed with students and community members alike looking to enjoy a night of traditional Chinese dance, martial arts and modern music.
It also included a fashion show featuring both old and contemporary styles, as well as performances by the Central New Jersey School of Ballet, Rutgers’ K-pop Dance Cover Club called HARU and Casual Harmony, a Rutgers a capella group.
Dr. Amp, a band formed by Rutgers students, also performed a mix of popular Chinese and American music. The event was co-sponsored by the RCSSA) and the Confucius Institute of Rutgers University.
“The Spring Festival is the most important holiday in China,” said Pan Pan, a student at the Graduate School—New Brunswick and part-time lecturer in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.
Because the holiday is based on the lunar calendar, there is no exact date, but it usually falls between late January and February.
“It’s the beginning of the new year, and everybody, wherever they are, they all come back to their home to have dinner with their family and to celebrate this festival with their family members,” she said. “So that has a special meaning for Chinese people.”
"People eat a special food during this time of the year called tang yuan, which means 'get-together' or 'reunion,'” Pan said.
Sharon Ding, an international student from Nanjing, China and a Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy junior, is a member of RCSSA and participated in the Chinese New Year Gala for the first time this year.
The New Year Gala is mainly organized by RCSSA’s entertainment department, which oversees the organization of the event, Ding said.
“We spent 5 months to prepare for the New Year Gala performance,” she said.
Ding performed at the event with a traditional Chinese instrument called a Chinese zither. The sound was produced by the plucking of its strings.
She began to learn the instrument as an 8-year-old primary school student, Ding said.
“It has more than 5,000 years of history in China,” she said.
The variety of performers makes the show special, and is reflective of the student body, Ding said.
“I think the show gives students at Rutgers a platform to know more about the Chinese traditional culture and festival,” she said.
“My favorite part of the gala is that it not only includes traditional Chinese music and dance, but also has ballet, a cappella and belly dance,” Ding said. “People can share multiple cultures together and share happiness.”
Christina Gaudino is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in public policy. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.