Unlike the scattering of opening events NYU clubs hold each year, each department of ECNU holds a welcoming talent show for its new students. My friends in the public management department invited me to their performance last Wednesday night, which lasted for almost two and a half hours.
The Chinese are often criticized for being uncreative, but the twelve acts were equally entertaining and well-thought out. Growing up my sisters and I felt that the Chinese tended to be disorganized and unprofessional, but I think in the last ten years the culture has changed significantly. Despite starting late, the performances were aided by lighting, music and powerpoint backgrounds, which changed according to the show.
Before the performances began, the department head gave a speech about the evening, which my friends said was thankfully much shorter than the previous head’s introductions. Yet the presence of the department head and some other teachers showed that the show was more official than the NYU club-run talent shows which professors rarely attend.
The first act was a fashion show, which, unlike NYU’s catwalks, featured personal clothing styles rather than high fashion by designers. The models also walked around more and took on more creative poses than I had seen at NYU fashion shows.
The girls usually wore their own clothes and took on schoolgirl, teacher and office-lady styles. Some boys also participated in the teacher category.
While American shows seldom reference the country’s short cultural heritage, some students performed traditional dances and music.
However, overall the performances showed how deeply drama culture has permeated Chinese youth. Many skits had music or acting elements drawn from the shows. The talented actors were all students from the public management department.
Perhaps because the performances were so different I felt that overall the evening was well worth my time. But content-wise one could argue that the Chinese are overly infatuated with romance, as nearly every song and skit had love as its baseline.