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Workshop caps off celebration of Chinese culture

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China Culture Day tumbled to a halt Sunday with a full-day workshop aimed to teach Winnipeg youth about Chinese culture.

According to Rosana Leung Shing, vice president of the Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts group, experts from the Chengdu Acrobatic Group were flown in from China to give classes in kung-fu, Chinese yo-yo, acrobatics, magic tricks and paper cutting. Shing said classes were packed and the kids greatly benefitted from learning first-hand about their Chinese heritage.

"A lot of our students are not just Chinese or from Chinese parents. They could be adopted children from China. They could be Canadian born Chinese. So they really don’t know the culture in terms of performing arts. They really have no idea. They see it on t.v., they see it on tape. Maybe some of their parents take them to China but really they don’t have the knowledge. We decided this is something that is important for them to learn to understand their roots and their background," Shing said.

The workshop served as the closing event of China Culture Day, a weekend-long event to commemorate the Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts group. Cultural organizations across the city partook in a score of events aimed at honouring different facets of the country’s artistic scene. The celebration began Friday evening with a 10-course Chinese meal at Kum Koon Garden, followed by traditional Chinese performances in dance, acrobatics and puppetry.

The celebration’s biggest event came Saturday night, when over 2,000 people packed Assiniboine Park to watch dancers from the local group, as well as professional dancers straight from China on the perform Lyric Theatre’s outdoor stage.

The workshop, Shing said, is the perfect way to end the festivities.

"We have our local dancers integrate and learn the skills of these professionals from China. Our teachers are not as high calibre as they are because they’re professionals. That’s what they do," Shing said. "When they leave, our teachers will pass on these skills to our students and we will all benefit from having them here. It’s just a great exchange."

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