TSB Arena, Queens Wharf, Wellington

13/02/2016 - 13/02/2016

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details


Celebrate Chinese New Year with an cultural extravaganza that brings together eastern and western cultures through the universal language of performing arts.

The programme features Wellington local groups performing alongside top performing artists from Xiamen in a fusion of eastern and western performing arts. This group of 30 artists will headline the 2016 Chinese New Year Festival programme and will include dancers, musicians and vocalists from the Little Egret Folk Dancing Art Centre, Xiamen Song and Dance Theatre and Xiamen Nanyue Troupe.

East Meets West will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase for Fringe enthusiasts the very best of Chinese performing arts while demonstrating the strength of cultural exchange and collaboration between New Zealand and China.

A highlight of the show will be the creation of a collaborative dance work by five dancers from The Little Egrets Chinese Folk Dance Troupe and dancers from Deirdre Tarrant Dance Theatre. personifies the strong sister city relationship between Xiamen and Wellington. Founded in 1993, The Little Egrets are the first professional folk dance troupe established in China. With a wide repertoire featuring the exotic art of dance of Chinese ethnic minority groups and culture, the troupe are one of Xiamen’s cultural icons. Performances in USA, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Spain, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Russia have been met with acclaim and highly praised by local audiences.

The programme will also feature a performance by Footnote New Zealand Dance, New Zealand’s longest-running contemporary dance company who celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2015.

This show is brought to the NZ Fringe Festival by Asian Events Trust, with support from the Wellington City Council, The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Culture, China. It forms part of the 2016 Wellington Chinese New Year Festival to welcome in the Year of the Monkey. For full details of the Festival programme go to www.chinesenewyear.org.nz


Dancers, musicians and vocalists from the Little Egret Folk Dancing Art Centre, Xiamen Song and Dance Theatre and Xiamen Nanyue Troupe with youth dancers from Deirdre Tarrant Dance Theatre, plus Footnote new Zealand dance company

Youth , Spectacle , Family , Dance ,

2.5 hrs

Strength in Collaboration

Review by Donna Banicevich Gera 14th Feb 2016

The East Meets West Celebration Show at the TSB Bank Arena last night welcomed in the Year of the Monkey, as part of the Chinese New Year Festival.  It truly was a cultural extravaganza, bringing together eastern and western culture through the universal language of storytelling in the performing arts. 30 of Xiamen’s performing artists (dance, song, and music) joined forces with some of Wellington’s best in a fusion of their individual crafts. Together they successfully highlighted eastern and western performance, combining contemporary form with the traditional. The end result proving without a doubt, there is strength in cultural collaboration.  As Xiamen is Wellington’s sister city the show was particularly poignant, highlighting the bond, through cultural exchange, existing between New Zealand and China.

Entering the arena I immediately felt I could have been anywhere in the world, preparing to experience the explosion of talent, that was soon to engulf the audience in a blaze of red.

 The show was divided into 2 parts. The West and the East.

The West’s section opened with a powhiri haka performed by the Te Rau Taiohi Kapa Haka Group, choreographed by Rahera Davies. This group stunned the audience into silence with their powerful performance. Behind me I heard the voice of a little girl whispering ‘this is actually Maori not Chinese’. Everybody smiled.

Following the opening, a procession of the performers, choreographed by Deirdre Tarrant and Bill Tagupa, set the scene for the seamless production that was to complete the first section. The audience was privy to: ‘Friends for Life’ a vocal performance by Jun Yuan and Nicole Foy, choreographed by Bill Tagupa; ‘New Clothes for the New Year’ featuring Mandatory NZ’s Menswear collection, also choreographed by Bill Tagupa, and dancers from GeNeR8 Dance Crew, choreographed by Braedyn Humphries. ‘Time of Flight’ came next featuring dancers from Footnote New Zealand Dance, choreographed by Raewyn Hill and music by Nic McGowan. Until finally ‘Monkey Business,’ featuring dancers from Deirdre Tarrant Dance Theatre & Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe directed by Deirdre Tarrant.   

‘Monkey Business’ was beautifully executed throughout providing a passionate strong synchronized performance that encapsulated collaboration through performance. I loved it.

The second section concentrated on the East, and featured the performers from the Xiamen Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Song and Dance Theatre and Xiamen Nanyin Troupe. This section was more traditional.

‘The Flowing Stream’ by the Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Ms Zhuo Ran & ensemble, was a visually stimulating performance executed to perfection. I was sitting up in my seat mesmerised. This was followed by southern music ‘The Flower Map’ by Nanyin Troupe, Ms Lian Fanghong, Ms Zhen Lichun, & ensemble. Next was a dance of the Dai nationality ‘The Auspicious Tree’ by Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Mr Li Xin & ensemble.

Next up, my favourite performance of the evening, a dance of the Miao nationality ‘Water Girl’ by Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Ms Wu Yuwei & ensemble, was a fragile, empowering performance.  I was transported through the language of dance into the water. It was so alive and inviting, every flicker, every ripple, every splash. The costuming was simply stunning in the soft flowing shades of blues and greens, and I’m still trying to work out the magic behind the droplets of water falling from a hand at the end. Just beautiful.

A Pipa solo followed, ‘The House of the Flying Daggers’ by Xiamen Song and Dance Theatre, Ms Chen Yuai. Then the Dance of the Han nationality, ‘Butterflies are Free’ by the Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Ms Yu Xin, Ms He Meng & ensemble. ‘The Lotus’ instrumental by Nanyin Troupe, Ms Yang Yihong & ensemble next. Then the Dance of Southern Fujian, ‘Barcarolla’ by Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Mr Li Xin, Mr Zhao Yue & ensemble. A solo performance ‘The Jasmine Flower’ by Xiamen Song and Dance Theatr,: Ms Zhang Bei, followed this, until finally ‘Dancing for Spring’ by Little Egret Folk Dance Troupe, Ms Wu Dan, Ms Zhu Shuting, Mr Lin Zekun & ensemble completed the evening.

After the show another explosion followed as a fireworks display lit up the sky across the Wellington harbour. The fusion was complete.

My introduction to traditional Chinese performance art though is far from over. For me, this is just the beginning…


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