China to amaze audiences 


Jasmine Putney, [email protected]

Too often textbooks and homework are seen as the only tools in learning.
However, a stage filled with music and magic can be just as educational as a classroom.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the Amazing China production will perform at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth St. Performers from the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at Binghamton University in New York will present a combination of different acts.

Evan Hilsabeck, the managing art director of the Coralville Center, said he is looking forward to his first experience with Amazing China and what it has to offer.

“We always like to bring in shows that speak to a wide range of people and diverse audiences; [Amazing China] certainly fits the bill for that,” he said.

The event will be hosted by the UI Confucius Institute, which aims to educate students and the Iowa City community about Chinese culture through language courses, cultural events, and work in research. Erin Mullins, programming coordinator for the Confucius Institute, said she became involved in the program because of the opportunities offered to young people.

“My daughter was interested in Chinese, and we had attended some of the events at the Cultural Diversity Festival, so we first learned about the Confucius Institute through that,” she said. “Then she attended an intensive Chinese language [camp] and really liked that. So we signed up for one of the community language classes together, and it was during that time I learned about the position at the Confucius Institute.”

As programming coordinator, Mullins looks for new and interesting representations of Chinese culture, she said. She learned about Amazing China a year and a half ago.

“I had heard really good things about the group from the other colleges that had hosted it. They said it was a really high-quality performance, and I wanted to be able to have something like that here in Iowa City,” she said. “I like the idea of it being a variety of different acts in one show so that people could see different types of instrumental, vocal, acting, and different kinds of Chinese pieces.”

Amazing China aims to educate and entertain through the use of opera, instrumental music, and magic.

To ensure families can indulge in something different without worrying about the expense, most Confucius Institute events are free.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the performance traditions of another culture and the way that we make magic across the world,” Hilsabeck said.

What: Amazing China
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth St.

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