Watch: Chinese expats in UAE celebrate New Year with musical performances, dance

The gala served as a vibrant gathering for the Chinese expat community, allowing them to celebrate their heritage and traditions in their adoptive home

by

Waad Barakat

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KT Photos and video: Angel Tesorero
KT Photos and video: Angel Tesorero

Published: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 3:19 PM

Last updated: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 11:28 PM

Dubai Opera burst in a display of vivid colours and symphony of cultural presentations as the 10th UAE Chinese New Year (CNY) Gala took place on Sunday. The cultural show and community celebration served as a prelude to the CNY on February 10, and held special significance as it heralded the Year of the Dragon.

With an estimated 300,000 Chinese expatriates residing in the UAE, the CNY Gala served as a vibrant gathering for the community, allowing them to celebrate their heritage and traditions in their adoptive home. This year's festivities were even more remarkable as they coincided with the 40th anniversary of UAE-China relations, fostering a strong bond between the two nations.

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One of the highlights of the Gala was a mesmerising camel and dragon dance, symbolically representing unity and harmony between Chinese and Emirati cultures. The graceful camel and majestic dragon moved hand in hand, captivating the audience with their synchronised steps.

The evening's programme featured a diverse range of performances that showcased the richness of Chinese culture. A performance featuring the Yellow River, China's mother river, immersed the audience in the beauty of the ancient waterway, accompanied by the ethereal melodies of renowned musician Michael Brunsky. The journey through time and nature evoked a sense of awe and appreciation.

The Gala also celebrated the modern art forms emerging from China. Chinese rap artists took the stage, infusing the atmosphere with infectious beats and lyrical prowess. The fusion of traditional and contemporary elements continued as a dance studio presented various performances in different genres, ranging from energetic hip-hop to elegant classical Chinese dance. Each act was a testament to the diversity and vibrancy of Chinese culture.

The UAE Chinese New Year Gala was wider than the local community; it attracted participation from over 70 countries. In a speech at the Gala, Zhang Yiming expressed his gratitude for the event's growth and its role in promoting traditional Chinese culture and fostering international camaraderie.

“Over the past ten years, the UAE Chinese New Year Gala has continued to grow and develop, and it has become not only a splendid art event that 300,000 Chinese in the UAE look forward to every year but also a big stage for overseas Chinese to promote traditional Chinese culture and enhance world friendship," said Zhang Yiming in his speech.

Among the attendees was Joan, a Chinese resident living in the UAE. As a teacher, she felt a deep connection to her cultural roots and was thrilled to witness the celebration of Chinese traditions in her adopted home.

“It’s my first Chinese New Year here in the UAE," Joan told Khaleej Times, adding that she was excited for the show in which her students were performing. They had spent weeks rehearsing their dance routine, perfecting every step and gesture. It was a moment of great pride for Joan as she watched her students prepare to showcase their talents on such a grand stage.

As the Gala drew close, laughter, applause, and cultural exchange reverberated throughout Dubai Opera. The 10th UAE Chinese New Year Gala lived up to its reputation, and attendees departed with a renewed appreciation for Chinese culture and the enduring bonds between nations.

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