Wangyue Zhou, Grade 11
UWCSEA Dover Campus
When asked about the most memorable tradition at UWC, the Chinese Cultural Evening (CCE) comes to my mind. This annual celebration at UWC CSC is usually at the start of the lunar Chinese New Year. The celebration consists of two repertoires——lion dance and dragon dance——two traditional forms of new year celebrations in China. The ceremony starts with the lion dance and ends with the dragon dance. The Chinese word “nian” means year in English, which was an enormous monster in the ancient Chinese myth. These monsters had attacked people during new year’s eve in the ancient Chinese Myth. Lions and dragons are auspicious creatures that fight against these creatures and are therefore representative symbols for the new year celebration. The lion dance and dragon dance give the audience a sense of how Chinese culture is like. Besides this, the female MCs of the celebration all wear traditional Chinese dresses——Qipao——to show beauty of China. For last year’s CCE, I performed traditional Chinese dance with other girls who learn this dance. I’ve never touched dance before. I was afraid of making even a small mistake because it would reject me from entering a new world. Yet the time is tight for us. We started practicing in October, but the CCE was approaching in January. We only had four months in total, from choreography to the final performance. We spent two hours every week in the dance room. During these sessions, we kept learning new choreography and reviewing previous movements. The learning pace is fast. At first, I was not eagerly concerned about the choreography. I had suffered from practicing difficult movements. The length of the choreography is also hard to handle. I could hardly remember any movements learned from previous sessions every time I went to the dance room. I wanted to quit several times during these four months; even at the last moment, I considered not performing with others on stage. However, one day I looked at the dance shoes and thought of shining on the large school stage, I decided to continue. I picked up the dance shoes and started going to the dance room much more frequently. “I’m not talented”, I thought, which means I had to practice more than others to compensate for the untalented nature. Therefore, I started practicing every day after dinner from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The dance shoes had broken, and my limbs cramped often. I enjoy practicing alone because it’s a deep conversation with my soul. After practicing more than 20 hours a week, the CCE was eventually put on the agenda. The final performance was astonishing. I heard the audience shouting out my name for the splendid performance. That moment is one of the highlights of my life. It made every drop of blood, sweat, and tear worth the effort. My effort gives the audience a better understanding of Chinese traditional culture. I love the stage and I love CCE, the annual new year celebration at UWCCSC.