Chinese college students bring “multifaceted” talents to campus

Will Kotheimer

Students from Xiamen University in China brought multitalented acts to a packed crowd in Downing University Center theatre on Tuesday night.

The performance was in the form of a variety show, and included an array of students singing Broadway-style songs, playing traditional instrumentations, dancing, as well as a show of calligraphy and a tai chi demonstration by the world champion Zhou Bin.

Bin performed his act with many choreographed movements, including a few high kicks, which inspired gasps from the crowd.

Bin said he began his study of Kung Fu as a kid, but moved on to Tai Chi 15 years ago. Tai Chi means “Yin Yang” in Chinese, which represents the dualism of darkness and light, he said.

The performers were all students from Xiamen’s art college who were chosen for the trip by professors, said Martin Woods, 21, a Louisville native who is finishing a degree from Xiamen University and emceed the event.

The students are on a 17 day trip to five universities in the region, Xiamen University Vice President Liwen Chen said. She said in order to be chosen for the tour, students must be “multifaceted,” or good at more than one art form.

Singer Li Xin, for instance, said he’s been studying song and dance for a few hours a day since he was in middle school.

Xin said he likes performing popular music so that people can understand it, and has aspirations for Broadway.

“I love Broadway!” he said. “It is a goal of mine.”

President Gary Randsdell was presented with a Chinese-style jacket as well as a painting made during that performance and a large Chinese banner that said, “Strive For Excellence” in Chinese calligraphy.

Ransdell said the artwork will be place in the Chinese Learning Center, currently being built in Helm Library to be completed in May.

The Confucius Institute at WKU is one of only three of its kind in the U.S., including one at the University of San Diego, and the University of Delaware, Liwen said.