Dancers and revellers usher in Year of the Horse

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Drums, dragons and dancing all combined to blast Preston with a blaze of colour and excitement for Chinese New Year.

UCLan’s Confucius Institute, a partnership between UCLan, Beijing International Studies University and Hanban, led the way with a performance by a world-renowned children’s entertainment troupe.

The colourful Nanjing Little Red Flower Art Troupe of China performed 12 different pieces of work to a packed Charter Theatre on Friday.

They showcased their choreography and singing skills, played traditional Chinese musical instruments, performed opera songs and acted.

Five students from UCLan’s dancing course also performed two dances of their own choreography.

The Mayor of Preston Veronica Afrin and children from St Mary’s and St Benedict’s RC Primary School, Cottam Primary School, Withnell Fold Primary School and Lordsgate Township CE Primary School were among the crowd.

Members of the troupe are all aged between nine and 12 years old. They spend four hours a day training alongside completing a full morning of school work.

Feixia Yu, director of UCLan’s Confucius Institute, said: “We were delighted to have the Nanjing Little Red Flower Art Troupe of China as our performers for our New Year celebrations.

“The routine was fantastic and we were delighted that so many schoolchildren from around the Preston area came to see these internationally renowned young performers. It was such a fabulous showcase and it was lovely that two former UCLan Confucius Institute students came back to Preston to be the hosts of the show.”

The Confucius Insitute also invited families to get hands-on, as they teamed up with staff at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

Workshops were held throughout the venue over the weekend on subjects including ceramics, lantern making, Chinese games, brush painting and a tea ceremony.

Sue Latimer, programmes manager at the Harris said: “We had a fantastically busy day for our Chinese New Year celebrations, welcoming lots of visitors to the entire Harris building. This is the third time we’ve done this event, working with our colleagues at the UCLan Confucius Institute and the Harris Library, and it has been growing in popularity year on year. The Chinese-themed games and workshops have proved very popular with Preston families.”

Elsewhere in Preston, diners at Tang Restaurant in Fylde Road were treated to a performance of the Lion Dance and Kung Fu displays to mark the Year of the Horse, and a dragon danced its way through Preston’s indoor and outdoor markets.

Robert Chan of Tang said: “The dance is very traditional and is to scare away evil spirits and induce prosperity. The eating of lettuce symbolises wealth and the spreading of lettuce is about spreading the wealth.Everyone got in the spirit of the celebration and enjoyed themselves.”




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