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Iowa city ushers in Spring Festival with performances

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-17 06:55

On Feb 9, the eve of Chinese New Year, the auditorium in Muscatine High School was packed.

More than 600 people watched students from the art troupe of the High School Affiliated with the Renmin University of China, also known as the RDFZ Student Art Troupe, perform a variety of dances, music pieces, martial arts and aerobics.

"It was a wonderful celebration of the Lunar New Year of the Dragon," Sarah Lande, an old friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping and longtime resident of Muscatine, Iowa, told China Daily on Thursday.

Lande said Feb 15 also marked the 12th anniversary of Xi's visit to Muscatine in 2012, which enabled the small city to play an important role in people-to-people exchanges between the US and China.

"In 2012, on this date, was the date that President Xi Jinping came to Iowa," Lande said. During that visit, Lande welcomed Xi to her home.

Lande said the performances by the students were just outstanding. "These were high school youngsters and they seemed like professionals. They were good at everything. They did different types of dances, from something that was like a ballerina to martial arts dance, and then a more spirited dance of a gymnastic event. They were in perfect sync all the way along," she said.

Lande also said the performance was action-packed and won a "standing ovation at the end".

Lively symphony

Muscatine High School students also welcomed the Chinese students with a lively symphony and jazz music performance.

Another wonderful thing about the Chinese New Year celebration in Muscatine was that the young people from China spent three nights there, Lande said.

"Some of them stayed in the homes of local people. Some of them stayed at a hotel. They visited the high school, they visited different cultural things around Muscatine, and they also got to talk to the young people in the Chinese language class. So, it was a wonderful experience for everybody," she said.

The RDFZ Student Art Troupe has performed around the world over the past 20 years. The award-winning group's US trip also included performances in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago during the Chinese New Year period.

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