The crowd that had gathered at the Regency Theatre on Monday evening (May 8, 2023) seemed quiet, reflective, and unsure. The place where they were assembled was familiar, but the show they were invited to see was not. Somewhere in the back of their minds, they knew that this gathering at the popular Grand Bahamian performing Arts Theatre was not for a normal Bahamian play or creative arts performance.
No one knew what to expect, but a sense of excitement simmered beneath the veil of uncertainty.
But their curious apprehension would resolve into a combination of relaxation and exhilaration, as Chinese acrobats from the Hunan Province took to the stage and lit up the Regency Theater with something new and spectacular.
And Grand Bahamians showed their approval with loud cheers and constant applause!
The novel experience was made possible thanks to the efforts of Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey and Chinese Ambassador to the Bahamas Her Excellency Dai Qingli of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Through Minister Moxey’s Sister Cities initiative, the Acrobatic Gala ‘Authentic China, Splendid Hunan’ introduced Hunan cultural performance to The Bahamas.
The event was a part of the Bahamian celebration of ‘The Road to 50,’ a pre-celebration of the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary.
The Hunan acrobats performed feats that were gravity defying and at times seemed impossible, particularly to a mostly novice audience. Over two thousand years of Chinese acrobatic tradition exuded from the performers, leaving Grand Bahamians awe-struck.
The Hunan acrobats proved to be well-trained and prepared to delight their audience. From juggling to strength acts, hoop jumping, balancing acts, contortionists, folk songs and even instrumental performances, it kept audiences spell-bond, causing the time to slip by quickly.
Minister Moxey noted that the exchange of culture and ideas is a powerful tool that transcends borders and bring people together. “It is an opportunity to learn from one another, to celebrate our differences and to embrace our shared values,” added Minister Moxey. “We are excited to share the rich cultural heritage of our island, from our vibrant music and dance traditions to our delicious cuisine and warm hospitality.”
“I would like to again express my heartfelt gratitude to the Sister Cities delegation from Hunan China for this incredible gift. Let us embrace this opportunity with open hearts and minds and work together to create a brighter and more prosperous future for our cities and by extension, our countries.”
Chinese Ambassador Her Excellency Dai Qingli said the acrobatic troupe brought to the people of The Bahamas best wishes for the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary. She noted that The Bahamas has gone through a remarkable journey in the past decades.
“We respect and admire the Bahamian people’s patient sacrifice, quiet resolve and unyielding struggle that have sustained your country in the face of adversity,” said Ambassador Qingli. “We hope and believe that by drawing strength from your one nation and one legacy, you will open up an even brighter future for Grand Bahama and for all the Bahamian people. I’m committed and my Embassy is committed to working with the Minister and her team to make this relationship a fulfilling one for both sides.”
Members of the audience were invited on stage to be a part of the grand finale, along with the performers.
By ANDREW COAKLEY/Bahamas Information Services