July 22, 2016
The Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group was so impressed by Houstonian’s warm hospitality last year that became the major reason for the group to come back to Huston for another performance this year. It was the first time ever that the troupe travels to the same city two years in a row in 29 years since its inception in 1988.
Thanks to the Taiwanese government’s promotional efforts, traditional Chinese folk games like shuttlecock kicking, diabolo spinning and rope skipping liven up students’ recesses between classes and their after school hours in primary and secondary schools in Taiwan. In order to provide more students with the opportunity to showcase their techniques in these folk games, no individual student will be selected twice for the group.
These children have been in constant practice throughout extracurricular activities, school breaks and vacations. After being selected, performers must participate in a one-month intensive training period before the tour. This year, twenty seven skillful students, aged 11 to 14, from elementary and intermediate schools in the Taipei City have been teamed up as the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group to perform in four cities in the United States including Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
In spite of the boot camp-style training and an exhausting travel schedule, these youngsters are pleased to act as junior ambassadors of culture and education just like their predecessors. This year, sophisticated techniques presented by individuals, pairs or groups in those traditional folk games continue to dominate the stage center in the performance. Those folk games have developed into a unique style of folk art by incorporating with different culture elements like Taiwan Indigenous culture, Hakka culture, gymnastics, drama and dancing.
The Folk Sports Group was introduced to the Fort Bend Independent School District (ISD) and its Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre by the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston. While representatives of the Taipei City and the Fort Bend ISD were discussing possibility of future collaborations, students of both parties enjoyed very much interacting with each other through the traditional Chinese folk games.
To show how much they value their partnership with Houston ISD, the Taipei Department of Education scheduled a performance exclusively for the faculty and staff members of Houston ISD followed by their visit to the Fort Bend ISD on July 21, 2016. The Folk Sports Group’s presentation received tremendous amount of appreciation from its audiences at the Houston ISD.