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18th Annual Lunar New Year Festival Of Chinese Dance, Music, and Peking Opera

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 9, 2003
New York, NY

About the Author:

18th Annual Lunar New Year Festival Of Chinese Dance, Music, and Peking Opera

New York Chinese Cultural Center & Tribeca Performing Arts Center

Featuring Chinese Folk Dance Company
With Special Guest, BaBan Bamboo and Silk Ensemble
Artistic Director, Xiaoling Yang

Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers Street, NYC, NY

nyccc390@aol.com
www.chinesedance.org

Amy Chin, Executive Director, NY Chinese Cultural Center
Peggy Yuen, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator,
NY Chinese Cultural Center

Choreographers: Ge Bai, Ming Jin, Lin Ma, Shikui Sun, Chun Tao, Jing Wang, Xiaoling Yang, Jigang Zhang, Yuan Zhang

Stage Manager: Adrian Clark; Lighting: Jeff Fontaine; Video Documentation: Character Generators; Poster Design: Sokie Lee

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 9, 2003

On February 9, 2003, I had the pleasure of accompanying my friends Carlos De Chey (Tango Coach, carlosNY@hotmail.com), Loreen Leong, Ting Chin, and Caleb Cain Marcus, as well as their friends, Henry, Louisa, Chip, Jalen, and Briana, for a day at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center's celebration of the Lunar New Year 4701, Year of the Ram, followed by a walk and lunch in Chinatown. The professional photos of this dynamic and colorful, Chinese Dance Event, will follow in a few days. Please check soon to see vibrant and wonderful photos by the professional photographer of the Chinese Folk Dance Company (CFDC), which is the award-winning resident company of the New York Chinese Cultural Center. These artists include professionally trained and world-renowned dancers and musicians. This Company performs a vast repertoire of classical and ethnic dances, including traditional works, as well as newly commissioned pieces.

Dances were :

Lion Dance (World Premiere)

Instrumental Music (Rainbow Skirts and Dance of the Silk Road)

Carrying the Bride (NY Premiere)

Generations of Yang Ge (NY Premiere)

Peking Opera Colors: Sheng, Dan, Jing, Chou (World Premiere)

Silk Clouds

Spring! When a Young Man's Fancy Turns To ...(NY Premiere)

Contemplations (World Premiere)

Balancing on a Mountain Plateau

Strength in Brotherhood

Ribbon Dance

These were highly stylized dances, with vibrant makeup, costumes, backdrops, and music. Some music was live, with traditional Chinese folk instruments, and some music was recorded. With the enormous size of this auditorium, and with the large number of children present for the afternoon performance, I was impressed with the attention and response of the audience and the clarity of the sound system. Kudos to all the technicians.

The Program began with a traditional and very acrobatic group of lions, in vibrant yellow. With gongs and bells, these lions were extremely versatile and athletic. The children in the audience were mesmerized. The first instrumental piece included a pink backdrop and pink costumes, with a zither, bamboo flute, hammered dulcimer, lute, hand drum, and 2-string violin. The music was of blended rhythms, with sweeping waves of sound. This portion was soothing, predictable, and almost hypnotic. When a male performer joined the all female group, the music turned upbeat, with almost a two-step polka rhythm.

The bridal piece included a passionate duo, with angular and percussive movement, reminiscent of the Graham Company (See Reviews, Photos). The next folk dance included a lone male dancer, with nine females in gray uniforms, who surround him with quick, rhythmic tempo changes. The red scarves seem symbolic of cultural solidarity, and there is definitely a military feel to this piece. The Peking opera work used very formal Chinese costumes (See Candids below). There were large feathers and beads, pasted onto faces and heads. Large, fancy batons were flung and twirled. During intermission, these dancers told me that it takes three hours to assemble these costumes and makeup!

The silk dance was fascinating and reminiscent of the Chinese Dance at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (See Photos). Women with long, long sleeves on their dresses were able to instantaneously unroll the sleeves into the air and to just as instantaneously roll them back to reveal their hands. This was an elegant and romantic, ballet-like, choreographed work. The next piece included three male performers, giddy with romance, according to the notes, who performed a highly acrobatic work, while in black, red, and white costumes. With wailing, stringed instrument sounds, and vibrant, backdrop color changes, these three dancers stunned the audience with their dynamism.

The Tea Ceremony with live performers, playing the zither, and bamboo flute, included one sole dancer, in a hypnotic dance of contemplation. The mountain dance included twelve dancers and recorded orchestral music, with a tinge of New-Age motif. It was a dance for a Mongolian Festival, in yellow, red, and black costumes, with swords and sticks, a symbolically macho, blood red, choreographed work. All eyes were on the stage, as these acrobatic dancers dueled and leaped, taking the stage by storm.

The Ribbon Dance was an excellent finale, with artificial red flames and yards of bright, red silk that dance as well, with the assistance of the Company. According to the notes, this dance connects our hopes and dreams for the future, a timely presentation.

Chinese New Year 4701 Year of the Ram Candids from Intermission, Tribeca Performing Arts Center Chinatown, NYC, NY and Dim Sum Go Go Restaurant 5 East Broadway NY, NY 10038 212.732.0797

Photos by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower with Guest Photographer, Caleb Cain Marcus
February 9, 2003


Amy Chin, Exec.Director, NY Chinese Cultural Center, Performers, Chinese Folk Dance Co.



Amy Chin and Performers



Performers



Performers



Caleb, Ting, Loreen in Chinatown



Loreen Leong, Former Bd. Member, NY Chinese Cultural Center



Roberta and Loreen



Chinatown



Friendly Dragon



Happy New Year



Drums in Chinatown



A Chinese Temple



Loreen Serves



Louisa, Jalen, Henry, Briana, Dinner Companions



Dim Sum Go Go Lunch



Jalen, Student at Ballet Hispanico (See Reviews)



Loreen Leong, Roberta, Veronica Leung, Restaurant Owner



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