Santiniketan, Feb. 26: Visva-Bharati has invited a Chinese dance troupe to perform at the university on Thursday in what officials said was an attempt to make students aware of the neighbouring country’s culture.
The three-hour programme by Jilin Provincial Group, named “Happy Spring Festival 2013”, will be organised by the Chinese department and will include spring festival and lantern dances to Chinese folk music. The consul-general of China in Calcutta, Zhang Li Zhong, will be the chief guest, officials at the varsity said.
The programme will be held in Natyaghar, the varsity’s main auditorium.
Officials said Tagore set up the Chinese department in 1937 to promote Chinese language and culture after his visit to the country in 1924. The poet requested Chinese scholar Tan Yunshan, who was touring India during the late 1930s, to be the founder-director of the department.
Today, Abhijit Banerjee, the head of the Chinese department, said: “This is the first time a cultural troupe from China will perform in Visva-Bharati. We want the students of Cheena Bhavana (the Chinese department) to make themselves familiar with the Chinese culture.”
The troupe, which performed in Sri Lanka last week, is currently organising shows in Delhi. After the programme at Visva-Bharati, the team will go to Rabindra Bharati University in Calcutta.
“This team is known internationally,” said Jayeeta Mazumdar, the general manager of Indo-China Promotion Council in Calcutta.
Asked how the programme will help students become familiar with Chinese culture, Banerjee said: “Chinese culture is part of our course for undergraduates. The dance forms will depict the two most important festivals of China, the lantern festival and the spring festival. All our students will be present. Everybody in the varsity is invited.”
The Cheena Bhavana has of late organised several programmes involving the two countries.
On January 16, a team of teachers and students from Yunnan University of China came to Visva-Bharati for seven days as part of a cultural-exchange programme. The team visited Sangeet Bhavana and Kala Bhavana and went to the rural areas of Santiniketan to get a feel of Tagore’s ideals and culture. A Visva-Bharati team also visited China in May last year.
“The university has never organised a Chinese cultural show. We have had teams visiting from China and have also sent our group there. But this is the first time the university will witness such a programme,” a varsity official said.
Visva-Bharati spokesperson Amrit Sen said: “Apart from Cheena Bhavan members, other students and teachers can also attend the programme.”