Confucius Institute helps Fort Collins celebrate Chinese New Year

To encourage the celebration of Chinese New Year in Fort Collins, the Confucius Institute has supplied local schools with funding and put on events featuring Chinese culture.

Traditional Chinese Opera, or jingju, was showcased Feb. 8 at the Lincoln Center. With dance, song and music, the Spring Festival Performance displayed Chinese New Year to an audience of over 1000 guests. 

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Chinese New Year 2015
With the combination of choreography and traditional Chinese garb, this act sent chills through the crowd Sunday evening at the 2015 CICSU Spring Festival celebrating the Chinese New Year. (Photo Credits: Kevin Olson)

Through events like this, the CSU Confucius Institute connects the University with Chinese culture. According to associate director Harry Imbeau, the institute provides courses on Chinese language and values, holiday celebrations for Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival and presentations in local schools. 

Associate director Xuemei (Shelley) Luo said that the institution is a bridge between China and the world.

“Each time when I can help people learn Chinese and Chinese culture, each time when people share their experience of traveling in China with me (and) each time when American friends express their love to China, I feel it the most meaningful thing,” Luo wrote in an email to the Collegian.

Imbeau said the institution is the only Chinese organization dedicated to Chinese culture and language in the community.

“(We are) specifically dedicated to the development of programming on Chinese language and culture for the entire community,” Imbeau wrote. “This focus allows us to create custom programming for the needs of any person or organization that is interesting in Chinese language and culture.”

Every Thursday evening, students can meet at the Confucius Institute’s Chinese Corner, a free meeting where students practice their Mandarin.

“I love working here because this is a great opportunity to help American students learn the language and know more about China,” wrote Xiaohan Wang, the program coordinator at the Confucius Institute, in an email.

Liu Chunnuan captivated the audience Sunday night during the festival with his twirling, "face-changing" act. (Photo Credit: Kevin Olson)
Liu Chunnuan captivated the audience Sunday night during the festival with his twirling, “face-changing” act. (Photo Credit: Kevin Olson)

The Chinese Institute opened two years ago. According to Imbeau, their programs and number of attendees have grown.

“We have several additional programs and courses in development such as business Chinese,” Imbeau wrote.

The organization also works with the Water and Environmental Sustainability program, connecting researchers with water issues in China.

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Collegian Diversity Beat Reporter Hannah Ditzenberger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @h_ditzenberger.