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Performers from China at Lantern Festival


Performers from China to feature at Lantern Festival

Aucklanders will be treated to two special performance groups from China in February at the Asia 2000 Lantern Festival.

Visitors to the Lantern Festival will have the opportunity to experience a traditional shadow puppet show, one of China's most ancient art forms; and the stunning Lotus Lantern Dragon Dance, which is being performed for the first time outside China.

"We are really thrilled, not to mention incredibly fortunate, to have two groups of such high calibre to perform at the Lantern Festival," said Asia 2000 cultural programme manager, Jennifer King. "These performers are highly skilled and also extremely entertaining. I am sure they will be hugely popular, and of course, as entry to the Lantern Festival is free, it's a chance for everyone to come and enjoy the great atmosphere of the festival as well."

Shadow puppetry originated during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and the visiting puppet troupe performance has changed little since this time. The puppeteers are all elderly farmers from Zhejiang province in China, who have performed together for decades. The main puppeteer has been performing since he was 12 years old and he is now over 60.

The Lotus Lantern Dragon Dance is an adaptation of the traditional dragon dance performed at the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival and originates in Zhejiang Province. The dance is performed by 17 dancers and three musicians. The performers dance holding beautifully crafted lotus-shaped lanterns and during the performance the dancers clip the lanterns together and each lantern becomes a segment of the dragon.

The Lantern Festival, which marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations, will be held in Auckland's Albert Park from 5pm to 10.30pm on 14 - 16 February 2003.

The Lantern Festival is organised by Asia 2000 in partnership with Auckland City. HSBC is the Festival's core sponsor, supported by AIA, Lee Kum Kee, Sky City Auckland, Telecom/One Card, MORE FM Auckland, Cathay Pacific, COSCO (New Zealand) Ltd, Triangle Television and Golden Raindrop Chinese TV.

Check out Lantern Festival information, including more information on the performers, on www.asia2000.org.nz or http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/lantern.

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