A special performance troupe of 15 young Hakkas will depart tomorrow for a tour of four Latin American countries to perform for overseas Taiwanese and local citizens to introduce Taiwanese Hakka culture.
Performing the traditional Hakka lion dance, a dance theater piece and a Hakka song, the Hakka Youth Cultural Troupe showcased their act — which they will perform in 90-minute gala shows in Panama, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina in the next two weeks — at a news conference at the Council for Hakka Affairs (CHA) in Taipei yesterday.
“This is the first time the CHA has sent Hakka performance troupes overseas. However, this event has been carefully planned over the past two to three years,” council Minister Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) said.
“Their mission is to show overseas Hakkas that younger Hakkas are retaining their traditional culture, while mixing in innovative elements. They are also going to introduce the Hakka culture that’s been locally brewed in Taiwan to the locals in South America,” the minister added.
A total of 158 people signed up to join the troupe. However, after fierce competition, only 15 were chosen, Huang said, adding that the members then went through an intensive training program that lasted a month.
All the members are aged between 16 and 31.
“In our performances, there are elements of traditional Hakka culture, of modernity, and of the potential of youth,” said Chen Pi-han (陳碧涵), designer of the program. “The 90-minute show will open with traditional performances and gradually move on to modern and innovative themes. I’ve even incorporated elements of Latin music to build a connection to South American culture.”
Troupe member Yeh Hsin-yi (葉欣宜), a 16-year-old student at the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts, said she was excited to be able to travel to South America to perform.
“I want to show them our culture and learn about their culture,” she said.
However, since she will have missed a month-and-a-half of school by the time she returns and immediately faces midterm exams, “I will bring textbooks with me to study along the way.”