By Edo Steinberg
January 31 marked the beginning of the New Year of several Asian calendars, including those of China, Korea, and Japan. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival. For billions of people around the world, including many in Bloomington, it is the most important holiday of the year.
On February 7, our very own Feiran Liu will serve as a Master of Ceremonies at the IU Chinese Students and Scholars Association’s New Year Celebration at the IU Auditorium. It won’t be Feiran’s first performance at a Chinese cultural event. Last year she performed a traditional fan dance, combined with modern dance, at several occasions in Bloomington and Indianapolis.
“I’ve been dancing since kindergarten,” Feiran says. “I was never professional. There were shows in China to celebrate holidays and I was selected to perform. I stopped dancing in 2004. I didn’t dance in college. Last spring it occurred to me that I want to pick it up again.”
Feiran doesn’t have a dancing teacher. “There’s a dancing club here, called D-Force. Chinese and other students joined. Some dance very well, so we just teach each other.”
Just three months after starting to dance again, Feiran performed in public. “During that time I did stretches every day in my apartment. I would read for class and stretch on a yoga mat at the same time, or when I watched TV.”
This year, she won’t be dancing at the show. “I was assigned the MC role and they didn’t want me to rush to change clothes,” Feiran says. “I unfortunately had to decline D-Force’s invitation to dance with them.”
“I was the MC for the IUCSSA’s Mid Autumn Festival last semester,” Feiran explains how she got the job. “They knew I had the experience. I was also an MC for all kinds of shows since I was a little girl and was an on-air MC for an internet radio show. I talked a lot. I communicated with the audience a lot.”
Hers will be a very important job. “The MC’s are a thread throughout the show. You do the introductions, and you sometimes need to interact with the audience, and at the end you have to say some concluding remarks about the show and the festival.”
“If you watch Spring Festival shows in China, you’d think they look weird. Chinese MC’s tend to be very formal,” Feiran says. She will take a different approach. “I will joke around. We’ll have a few punch lines. We’ll change the atmosphere. It’s a holiday for families to gather and celebrate the experiences of last year and welcome the new year, so don’t make it too serious!”
Feiran will be one of four MC’s, along with two other students from China and one from Britain. “It’s a tradition at the IU Spring Festival show to ask one ‘foreigner’ – non-Chinese – to co-host. The show will be bilingual.”
So, if you want free food and a free show, or just want to see Feiran hosting, come on over to the IU Auditorium on February 7 at 5 PM!
And if you ask why it’s a week late – the auditorium was booked on the actual holiday.