The Cultural Festival

Posted by Sonja Poe on 5/16/2018

            Within my first two months at Beijing Jingshan School, I thought I had developed a pretty good understanding of the school. Academics were priority and classes were fascinating but demanding. Watching my classmates study for hours and hours on end, it began to seem to me as if the whole basis of school life here was studying. While I certainly did not overestimate the importance of academic achievement, I did miss out on another huge part of Jingshan. This I discovered during a very specific Friday afternoon assembly called the opening ceremony of the cultural festival. This festival showcases the talents of Jingshan students and allows them an opportunity to explore various traditional Chinese and international arts. I had the opportunity to learn just how much more there is to Jingshan than I thought.

            In this showcase, I got to see a variety of performances from singing, martial arts, to dialogue. Contrasting my classmate’s beautiful performance of a Chinese song, I was very entertained to see a of couple boys singing American country music with guitars in hand.

One performance of the showcase that particularly impressed me was the traditional Chinese opera performed by elementary schoolers. I was incredibly impressed how smoothly the young students executed complex traditional dialogue. Learning these skills as a young child really allows them to conquer stage fright, prepare for public speaking, and explore an important aspect of their culture to which they may not have been otherwise exposed.

            The part of the showcase that took me most by surprise was the fashion show. The lights were dimmed, music turned on, and colorful lights moved about on the middle aisle leading up to the stage. Students walked through the catwalk and up to the stage full of confidence and energy, striking a pose of their liking at the end. The purpose of the show was to introduce contesting uniforms for future school events. Besides the clear practical purpose of the fashion show, I thought the event was uplifting, entertaining, and overall just really fun.

            One of my favorite events of the cultural festival is the English movie competition. As a judge for this event, I have the chance to watch about 20 classes perform the dialogue to different hollywood films while the scene plays in the background. Some of the films included the Imitation games, Kung Fu panda, Coco, and Sherlock Holmes. Just imagining how difficult it would be for me to follow a movie dialogue in chinese I was really impressed how accurately the students were able to keep up with the fast pace of the scenes.

            The cultural festival not only builds school spirit and showcases these student talents, but it also gives students a break from regular school life, allowing them to focus on other highly regarded cultural skills. My American classmates and I were so impressed to see how the same students we sit in class with every day, the same students who put so much effort into academics, also possess these incredible talents, which they are willing to share with the school community.