Guilin colour on stage tomorrow

Out there: Young Guilin performers dance at Te Aute college.

A visit by Guilin Children’s Palace performing arts students to Hastings reaches its crescendo tomorrow with a free public concert at the Blyth Performing Arts Centre at Iona College.

A taste of what the public will see on Saturday was on show at a special visit to Te Aute College on Wednesday, where the 16-strong group of 10 to 12-year-olds and their accompanying adults were officially welcomed with a powhiri. Hastings District councillors Bayden Barber and Henare O’Keefe accompanied the visitors to the powhiri.

The youngsters’ performing arts skills cover a range of disciplines from dance and martial art demonstrations, to singing and classical musicianship.

New Zealand China Friendship Society chairman and Hastings resident David Bromwich says the young performers are outstanding. “The show is spectacular. At the school performances the martial arts dances, the hip hop and modern Latin dancing have been very popular, and there are dances from a number of small ethnic minority groups, mostly from the Guangxi province.

“While these students are young they are very professionally skilled and this is performance art that is well worth seeing.”

The Hawke’s Bay Youth Orchestra will perform first. Mr Bromwich said. “This is the second part of an exchange visit after a group from the orchestra travelled to China last year and performed for schools over there.”

He said that while the performances of both group were the highlights of the visits, one of the most rewarding things was seeing the groups of Chinese and New Zealand children interacting in the playground.

“Children have an innate ability to relate and an inquisitiveness that transcends the language barrier. We believe that starting these relationships from a young age will ensure that we build solid relationships for the future.”

Over the last three days the Guilin students have been visiting schools across Hastings and Napier, including Te Aute College, Havelock North High School, Havelock North Intermediate School and St Patrick’s School (Napier). They also visited Hastings District Council on Wednesday, where they had lunch with councillors, then visited the Guilin Room at Council, which holds memorabilia representing the 40-year sister city relationship between Hastings and Guilin.

They are also getting a very personal look at the daily lives of Hawke’s Bay residents, with all the students being billeted in pairs with local families.

The free concert at the Blyth Performing Arts Centre, Iona College, 42 Lucknow Rd, Havelock North, starts at 10.30am, Saturday (August 12), finishing at 12.30pm.