by Tao Jun, Bui Long
HANOI, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- "I have studied Chinese for only one year, but Chinese performing arts have deeply penetrated into my blood," a Vietnamese university student said, blossoming into a charming smile.
In the red costume of an ethnic group in southwest China's Yunnan province, Tran Thi Ngoc Mai, a freshwoman at Thai Nguyen University in Vietnam's northern Thai Nguyen province and her seven fellow students brought the house down on Saturday when they skillfully performed the Akha dance at the final round of the first talent contest for Vietnamese students of Chinese language in Vietnam's northern region.
During the performance, the young dancers held green bamboo sections while performing tactful moves which required coordination, balance, physical strength and flexibility at a high level. Their breathtaking dance won the heart of the judges and audience.
"We started learning Chinese after being admitted to the university, but always feel that the Chinese language and performing arts are very close to us," Mai told Xinhua after her group grabbed the contest's first prize after beating 11 other teams from nine universities.
"I plan to apply for a scholarship to further study Chinese, and after graduation, I will work as an interpreter. Because I am bewitched by Chinese performing arts, including Jingju (Peking opera), traditional dance and vocal music, I like to do interpretation and translation in the fields of Chinese culture," the freshwoman said, adding that she will see "all major art performances in China at any cost."
Mai's fellow student, Le Thi Quynh Trang, a third-year student, shared her similar plans.
"I am deeply interested in Chinese dances, especially traditional dances. I like to study in China soon to sharpen my Chinese speaking and listening skills and enrich my knowledge about Chinese culture which acts as friendship bridges between Vietnamese and Chinese people," Trang told Xinhua.
Chinese performing arts lure not only Vietnamese students but also their lecturers who believe that they help improve Chinese speaking and listening skills of learners, and raise awareness of the importance of preserving cultural identities of the two countries and promoting their traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation.
"Our university teaches different foreign languages, and we have established a Chinese speaking club, and held Chinese singing, dance and drama contests for our students. We regularly send our students to summer camps in Yunnan and Guilin (a scenic city in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region)," Pham Thi Sao, a lecturer of Chinese at the Thai Nguyen University, told Xinhua on Saturday.
"We have cooperation programs with Honghe University in Yunnan, so our lecturers and students regularly visit Honghe for studying, not only the Chinese language but also Chinese performing arts, especially dance, our students' strength," the young lecturer said.
Like Thai Nguyen University, the Confucius Institute at Hanoi University in Vietnam's Hanoi capital has over the past two years opened five Chinese culture clubs with hundreds of full members, mainly Vietnamese students and residents in Hanoi and neighboring localities.
"Our martial arts club has 170 members who are practicing Tai Chi (a Chinese martial art known for its defense training and health benefits). Our choir has 30 members, our dance group has 35 members, our Chinese calligraphy club has 110 members, and our handicraft club has over 100 members who like paper-cutting art, endless knot embroidery, ceramic painting or facial mask painting," Do Thanh Van, head of the Confucius Institute, told Xinhua on Saturday.
According to Van, most of her learners are keen on attending free short-term training courses which provide them with both deep understanding of Chinese culture and joy of making and preserving cultural products such as calligraphic works and paintings made from paper or ceramic.
"A number of Vietnamese students of Chinese language are very talented in terms of performing arts, so our institute plans to establish a club drama which will feature various kinds of stage dramas, including Beijing, Shanghai, Anhui and Yunnan dramas" Van said, noting that she has enjoyed Peking opera many times.
"Among Chinese artists, I admire Li Yugang because he can bring modern songs into traditional Peking opera, performing them smoothly," Van said, adding that her institute wants to invite more Chinese artists and experts like Li to Vietnam to teach local learners.
On Saturday, Vu Thu, a second-year student at Hanoi University, told Xinhua that she has just finished a training course on calligraphy coached by a Chinese expert, and that she wants to know more about Peking opera which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics.
"Chinese calligraphy and Peking opera will help me a lot because I plan to work as a tourist guide in the near future," Thu said, adding that she currently works as a contributor of local online newspaper VietNamNet, translating news and articles about Chinese arts and showbiz into Vietnamese.
Another Vietnamese lover of Chinese performing arts, Tran Van Quan, a second-year student of Vietnam University of Commerce in Hanoi, wearing a white costume and holding a silk crimson fan, thus looking like a young scholar in old Chinese movies, told Xinhua that after graduation, he will work as an interpreter, and now he is crazy for Chinese traditional songs, dances and natural landscapes.
Dong Quang Vinh, a Vietnamese member of the contest's jury, said he was much impressed by professional performances of the local students which showed their thorough grasp of Chinese language and performing arts.
"Today, we enjoyed marvelous vocal music, dances and calligraphic works. I hope that next contests will have more performances of traditional musical instruments. All of them will strengthen cultural exchanges and mutual understanding between Vietnam and China," Vinh, who is a famous conductor and traditional musical instrumentalist, said in Vietnamese and then in Chinese fluently.