“You don’t see this every day in Medford, Oregon where you have a group traveling 17 hours by plane from Central China,” St. Mary’s President, Frank Phillips said.
Students at St. Mary’s school got a glimpse into some traditional Chinese dancing. The world-renowned Kung-Fu troupe Wulin Hanyun combines Chinese music and martial arts into a mesmerizing performance.
“China has this five thousand year old culture that most Americans don’t even dip their toes into so this gives these kids a little taste of it,” Phillips said.
The group has performed at the opening ceremony in the 2008 Olympics and has traveled around the world and decided to make a pit stop in Medford.
“They’re in for a real treat,” said Phillips.
St. Mary’s is the first school in North America to have a Confucius classroom.
“A lot of them study Mandarin in the classroom and there is no place to use it. If you’re studying Spanish you can use it in this valley but Mandarin you can’t always use it, so to have a group like this to come from China and interact with our students and speak a little Chinese with them it makes their language studies real,” Phillips said.
Blending the two cultures has been something St. Mary’s strives for, some of the students have even studied abroad in China.
“For our students to be able to learn Mandarin and travel to China it opens up new worlds for them and it’s kind of corny but it brings peace and harmony with our two nations,” said Phillips.
Senior, Miklos Bowling has been studying Mandarin for five years and believes the performance has deeper impact.
“It kind of helps us understand what it’s like to have that sort of history behind you and I think that kind of makes us closer,” Bowling said.
Students even got in on the fun and learned some Kung-Fu moves.
“We want to attract more students to learn Chinese and help them know more about Chinese culture,” Carl Am, Wulin Hanyun commentator said.
-Photojournalist Karen Tang
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