“Above, the stars shone hard and bright, sparks struck off the dark skin of the Universe,” said Stephen King describing a beautiful twilight in his novel The Stand. Well, it looked like this image descended onto Mirror Lake on the 25th of December when University Town was bedecked in an array of shimmering colours to ring in the New Year! Friday Night saw Peking University Shenzhen celebrating the annual Mirror Lake Night with an extravagant carnival amidst great pomp and fanfare!
Deemed as the largest and most eagerly awaited event on campus, this year’s celebration was indeed grander than grand! The arrangements on the stage, which was erected over Mirror Lake, were prodigious and preparations were made with military like preciseness! It is a well-known fact that PKU is brimming with talents across all fields, but Friday night saw students showcasing their immense expertise in an arena of cultural arts. The night’s performances were megalomania of splendid presentations in dance, music, theatre and martial arts doing complete justice to this year’s theme, “Time Travel and Millennium Meet”. The event was graced by some distinguished dignitaries from both politics and academics in Shenzhen. Given the grandeur of the celebrations, it was indeed an honour to have them enjoy the night at PKUSZ!
The festivities began early with some recreational activities organized by all the different schools of PKU at the boulevard overlooking the Lake. Massive, life-like cut-outs depicting various superheroes, both western and Chinese were pitched across the arena and students could click pictures and drop in their participation tickets for a prize draw. The lucky winner, picked by Hai Wen, dean of PHBS, went home with an Apple MacBook! The highlight of the evening’s celebration featured a tantalizing cosplay parade followed by an opulent wedding procession depicting a traditional Chinese marriage celebration of an Emperor to his Queen. The act was so regal that the crowd erupted in excited merriment when the Emperor carried his bride away amongst thunderous claps, glorious wedding music and bright fireworks!
After offering a solemn prayer for the victims of the recent landslide in Shenzhen, it was time to reminisce about the glorious past and experience a spectrum of visual delight! The diversely rich and culturally celebrated eras of Chinese history arose on stage as students burst onto a colourful bloom of stars leaving everyone mesmerized with their stunning performances!
The splendour of the Beijing Opera was brought to life in an intricate musical by both international and Chinese students. The rich heritage of Chinese music that has transcended across dynasties left everyone captivated in a mellifluous rapture when students presented a symphony featuring some modern instruments like the saxophone, piano, flutes, accordion and violins alongside classical ones like Guzheng, Zhonghu, Ruan, Dizi and bottle gourd silk drums. Another memorable performance was the enthralling folk dance from the snow-capped highlands of Tibet. PKU invited Yang Xiodian, a PKU alumni who is striving to preserve traditional Chinese music, to perform a graceful Chinese Ballet with her troupe. Crooning to her melody, the audience acknowledged her as the Nightingale of the night! The Students of the Karate association wove a beautifully comic romance story through striking martial arts fighting styles. The Nanyan Dancing Associations left everyone spell-bound everyone with their diverse acts ranging from an impressive Latin tango to an electrifying hip hop act! The night’s events culminated in a mystical Tai Chi performance by the faculty and a magical Chinese Calligraphy stint where the night’s performances were depicted using ink-brush painting while a Cantonese poem was recited in the background by students from the School of Environment and Energy, adorned in ornate Cheongsam.
With some absolutely riveting and magnificent acts, it was indeed a cherishable night for everyone at Peking University Shenzhen! Fully reflecting on the cultural elements of the diversity represented in PKUSZ, Dean Hai Wen commemorated the achievements of the schools and encouraged the students to greet the New Year with hope, hard work and happiness!
Written by Gayathri Jagannathan