Society Showcase: Oxford University Chinese Dance Society
Chinese New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Ending the year of the Water Tiger, which is seen as a symbol of strength, braveness and exorcising evils, the 2023 Lunar New Year is set to welcome the Year of the Rabbit. It is said to be the luckiest animal out of the 12 in the zodiac sequence and People born in the year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded and ingenious.
To honour the beginning of the new year, we spoke to Oxford University’s Chinese Dance Society, PhoenOx, about how they are bringing in the new year and what they have planned for the favoured year of the rabbit.
Hype: Hey PhoenOx! Can you tell us a little about yourself and the society you’re a part of?
PhoenOx Dance Society: My name is Lucy, a second-year maths undergrad. I am the president and Arts Director of PhoenOx, Oxford university’s first Chinese dance society. Here at PhoenOx, we want to promote Chinese culture, celebrate the diversity of cultures, and foster intellectual exchange through Chinese Dance.
Hype: Why is it important that your society’s Chinese culture is continually celebrated away from home?
PhoenOx Dance Society: Chinese culture is unique and profound, and Chinese dance is a huge part of it. Through Chinese dance, we are not only telling a touching story, but also showcasing delicate costumes, and creating an immersing atmosphere. For people from a Chinese cultural background, this is a place that feels like home. At the same time, we want to promote Chinese culture and embrace more people with our joy and love.
Hype: In honour of the Chinese New Year this month, what kind of events does the society have planned in the coming weeks?
PhoenOx Dance Society: The society will be performing a traditional Chinese dance piece called “Whisper of Flowers”, or 素馨花说 in Chinese, during the Chinese New Year celebration at Oxford university.
Hype: What has been your favourite performance so far?
PhoenOx Dance Society: My personal favourite performance was our last Chinese New Year performance in 2022. We performed a Chinese folk dance, “Reminiscence in the Rain”. That was our debut as a newly established society and the show was so successful. There is so much more to it that audiences don’t see, everyone working hard backstage, the laughter in our make-up room, and the love and support from everyone in society. PhoenOx is still a young society, and I am sure there will be many more memorable performances in the future!
Hype: Being part of a society has loads of social benefits but, what’s the best part of it for you?
PhoenOx Dance Society: Joining PhoenOx made my dream come true. I love dancing and have learnt Chinese dance since I was young. I have always had the dream of dancing on stage, but never had enough confidence and courage to do so. PhoenOx is such a positive and supportive society, if you are passionate about dancing, everything is possible. Many of our members have no prior experience. They were shy in the beginning but have slowly become more confident as they practice more. I am so proud to see everyone improving and thriving!
Hype: What have you and your society got in store for the Year of the Rabbit?
PhoenOx Dance Society: In the Year of Rabbit, we have exciting plans! Apart from our Chinese New Year performances, we are performing on various other occasions, including Oriel MCR International cultural show. PhoenOx’s annual dance video shooting and production is underway, so please look forward to our video release in the next few months.
Hype: Finally, where can Oxford students find you and get involved in your society?
PhoenOx Dance Society: The best way to experience Chinese Dance is in the theatre! All our performance information can be found on Instagram @phoenox.dance or Facebook @Oxford PhoenOx Chinese Dance Society. Also, check out our photos from shows and rehearsals. If you want to join and dance with us, reach out on social media platforms. Everyone is welcome to join, no prior experience is needed! Looking forward to seeing you in the theatre and at our dance sessions!