Lunar Festival offers fun culture

It is now the year of the rabbit. Mines celebrated the Lunar New Year with a festival put on by Professional Asian Society of Engineers and Scientists (PASES).

National Martial Arts Academy began the festivities with a traditional lion dance and a general martial arts performance. The lion dance was an engaging way to start off the evening, as it featured exhilarating drum and cymbal music along with frenetic dancing by people in “lion” costumes. The lions consisted of brightly colored costumes with one person in the head and one person in the body of the lion. The lion operators engaged the audience by moving their mouths and performing some acrobatic feats. After the dance concluded, National Martial Arts Academy performed a variety of exciting martial art techniques, including sword-fighting.

After National Martial Arts performed, the Filipino-American Community of Colorado performed several traditional dances, illustrating the culture of the Philippines. These included a dance called a subli, or hat dance. According to the group’s leader, “It is a very fun dance… It is performed during Fiestas as a worship dance to the town’s ikon.” The group next performed a dance from the northern part of the Philippines, symbolizing peace and mimicking a dove. For their third number, the group performed an elaborate routine containing oil lamps. The fourth dance was a reenactment of a battle between Chinese and Filipinos. Finally, the group performed one of the most popular Filipino dances, depicting a farmer’s battle with crows. The group’s leader stated of the performance, “The dances that we’re doing for you really show the personality of the Filipino people. We’re island people, after all, so our dances are very fun and very festive.”

Next , Colorado Budokan (the organization behind CSM Karate) presented. They demonstrated and explained several different techniques. One was “three-point sparring. In three-point sparring, all the attacks are predetermined and all the counters are also predetermined.” The group then demonstrated several choreographed routines against imaginary opponents with increasingly complicated sparring techniques.

The Christina Yeh Dance Studio then performed several routines. One dance was highlighted by the clicking of metal chopsticks held by dancers. Another was punctuated by tambourines, and a third contained extremely impressive ribbon dancing. The highlight of the presentation was most certainly the Chinese yo-yo portion. The elaborate tricks involving a yo-yo like piece on an independent string fascinated the audience and caused cascades of applause.

Continuing the multicultural, fun mood of the evening, PASES volunteers put on a fashion show of traditional Asian dress. Most outfits were Vietnamese, and many were certainly not traditional fabrics, but some stood out. One woman had an outfit covered in metallic bangles, complete with a hat that covered much of her in silvery bangles. The outfits were mostly entertaining and the “models” did not take the fashion show too seriously, resulting in gales of laughter from the audience.

In case anyone had been falling asleep during the evening, the final performance was certain to wake them up. A taiko drummer group called Mirai Daiko offered a skilled, exciting, loud drum presentation. The group played two traditional Japanese songs and two more modern compositions. All four songs featured a great deal of energy and talent, making the drumming a worthy conclusion to the evening.

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