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Music, dancing and a Chinese lion at spectacular launch of two-year Olympics programme

Last night saw local and international talent unite for the official launch of Stories of the World: Eastern Exchanges - a two year-long programme of regionwide events leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. This launch event ceremony officially welcomed internationally renowned Beijing artist and calligrapher Chen Hong to the region, where he has undertaken a three-month residency. The music of the University of Cambridge Chinese Orchestra provided the backdrop to the evening’s celebrations, where guests could also enjoy a recital on the zheng (an ancient harp-like instrument) by local young musician Hannah Brock. The event’s centrepiece was a performance of the traditional ‘Lion Dance’ by costumed dancers and drummers from Cambridge’s Chinese community.

Former Ambassador to China Sir Christopher Hum - who gave a speech illuminating Cambridge’s long-standing connections with China - was joined by Chen Hong in performing the Chinese custom of ‘dotting the lion’s eyes’. This custom is intended to bring the lion to life and make it dance.

Famous for his expressive paintings of fish, Chen Hong will be artist-in-residence at the Fitzwilliam Museum for the next month, giving public demonstrations of traditional Chinese painting and offering workshops to visitors. His vast hand-painted ‘100 Fish’ scroll was placed on display at the event, occupying the entirety of the Museum’s Courtauld Staircase.

Stories of the World: Eastern Exchanges is a programme of events taking place in museums around the East of England in the two years leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, including workshops, exhibitions and community projects - find out more.

26 February 2010

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