Putting Their Best Feet Forward

The young Chinese dancers dressed in red plaid skirts and navy blue blazers left an Orange County welcoming ceremony Friday with a decidedly American twist--baseball caps.

The blending of the two cultures was a fitting symbol for the visit, designed to promote ties between Orange County and China.

The Cathay Future Children Art Troupe is from Tianjin, China, a port city near Beijing with more than 9.4 million residents--and Orange County’s sister city. Officials here visited Tianjin in August as part of the exchange program.

During a ceremony Friday at the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana, Supervisor William G. Steiner told the 24 visiting dancers, ages 6 to 13, that their visit is an important form of “personal diplomacy.”


Fang Fang, chairman of a children’s arts foundation that arrived with the dancers, agreed on the importance of the visit.

“They are the future,” Fang said. “They bring the friendship seed to Orange County.”

The Chinese government paid for the trip, and the visitors will receive free passes for a visit to Disneyland on Sunday, officials said. The girls will perform today at the Asian Festival of Southern California in Westminster Mall.

At the ceremony Friday, the girls received blue Anaheim Angels baseball caps, which matched their outfits.

Li Xiaomeng, 12, said she likes her baseball cap and hopes the friendship between the two countries will be “everlasting.”