Confucius Institute performs cultural music, dance in Bosco Plaza

Current members of the Confucius Institute, and supporters join the flash mob in Bosco Plaza on Oct. 8, 2015. (Jessica Robbins | The Collegian)

A Chinese folk music and dance flash mob was held in Bosco Student Plaza Thursday afternoon.

The mob was organized and hosted by K-State’s Confucius Institute, with the assistance of the Chinese Student Scholars Union and K-State Chinese Language and Culture Club.

More than 30 K-State students and members of the community gathered outside the K-State Student Union to sing and dance to cultural Chinese folk music for an audience of interested passersby. The performers, which consisted of young children to adults, included students and community members with Chinese heritage or an interest in Chinese culture.

The cultural songs performed included “Jasmine,” “Standing on the Hilltop,” “Home on the Beautiful Prairie” and “Little Apple.” The songs were selected due to their ties with Kansas terrain and Manhattan’s nickname, “The Little Apple,” according to Xiangxing Max Lu, professor of geology and interim director of the Confucius Institute.

Lu said that participants in the flash mob began coordinating and rehearsing a month and a half ago, and that there were multiple goals behind the performance.

“Firstly, it’s to have some fun and really it’s to increase the visibility of the Confucius Institute at K-State since this is a brand new institution,” Lu said. “We launched in April this year, so probably not that many people know that we have a Confucius Institute; and it’s really a good way of getting people interested in Chinese culture and maybe learning about it and getting to understand the culture a little bit more.”

Lu said he hoped displaying Chinese culture “in a fun way” on campus would encourage students, faculty and community members to look into learning about China’s importance as a country and as a culture.

“Obviously, Chinese culture is quite a bit different from the kind of culture we have in the United States, and with China being such an important country with rapidly-growing economy, it’s important for Americans to learn about the country and the culture,” Lu said.

Kate Schieferecke, freshman in social work, is an American student who participated in the flash mob. Schieferecke said that since she is visiting China next summer with a friend, she joined Chinese Culture Club to learn about Chinese culture and language and became involved with the flash mob when she heard participants were needed for it.

“I really enjoyed experiencing a different culture,” Schieferecke said. “I think it’s important to give students a bigger worldview and just to realize that the world is bigger than yourself, and it’s bigger than our university and it’s bigger than America.”

Georgia Perez, accounting specialist in the Union business office and adviser to the Native American Student Association, was an observer of the flash mob.

“I thought it would be really interesting to come down and see what they were doing,” Perez said. “It was neat to see another culture and what (the young people in the Chinese culture) are doing and to keep up with the times.”

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