Singapore

River Hongbao spiced up with foreign flair

In keeping with tradition, River Hongbao celebrations for Chinese New Year will include overseas performers, with two troupes from China and Taiwan joining the event this year.

The Shandong Song and Dance Theatre has prepared 14 performance items, including one featuring the Chinese wind instrument suona and another piece inspired by the Six Arts of Chinese philosopher Confucius, using folk dance to portray the disciplines of rites, music, archery, chariot racing, calligraphy and mathematics.

The Shandong ensemble's head of Chinese orchestra, Mr Ma Hai Long, hopes that its cultural performances will evoke a sense of home for the Chinese nationals remaining in Singapore over the Chinese New Year.

Dance students from the University of Taipei will present five performances, including a traditional folk dance called Waltzing by the River.

It was conceptualised by Ms Hsiao Chiin-ling, the director of dance at the university, who has performed at previous River Hongbao celebrations.

The River Hongbao kicks off today and will run till Feb 1 and both foreign troupes will perform on the first four nights.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, will be the guest of honour for the opening ceremony.

Among the local performers each night will be Chinese orchestra group Reverberance and a cappella group Micappella.

A million visitors are expected to attend the 10-day event at the Marina Bay Floating Platform, which cost about $3 million to organise.

The carnival event will include rides, games such as Hunt-Your-Zodiac and street food stalls.

Meanwhile, the organiser of this year's Chingay Parade, the People's Association, said yesterday that the event will feature a 108m-long dragon, touted by its makers to be the world's largest and longest.

The parade will take place at the F1 Pit Building from 8pm to 9.45pm on Jan 31 and Feb 1 and will also feature floats, performances from stilt walkers and dance groups.

Tickets are available at www.chingay.org.sg/tickets

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