Burnsville, Minn. (May 23, 2010) – With colorful ribbons flying high along with an audience cheering loudly, Minnesota’s first “Pan Asian Dance Festival” successfully came to an end last Sunday, at the new state-of-the-art Burnsville Performing Arts Center. Asian Media Access in collaboration with Minnesota Sunshine Dance Group and Pan Asian Artist Alliance, said the event was very succesfful.
The performance opened with a warm welcome from the Mayor of Burnsville, Elizabeth B. Kautz, and the President of the Friends of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Mr. Wayne Huelskoetter, and the Programming Director of Pan Asian Artist Alliance, Jintu Wang.
Their speeches fully reflected the City of Burnsville’s commitment and enthusiastic support for the Pan Asian communities and the arts.
After the introductions, the show began with traditional dances of the Southeast Asian region. The Minnesota Sunshine Dance Group performed a colorful “Water Bucket Dance” that concluded with the dancers pouring water into a golden bucket, which impressed the audience members.
The second dance number, “Dok Champa” – the national flower of Laos, was performed by the Lao Woman Association Dance Group. The dance celebrates Laotians, reminding them of who they are and where they come from.
This performance was followed by the Minnesota Ocean Dancers presentation of another Hmong traditional Dance – “Rice Patty,” which expresses happiness of the farmers as well as their thanks to their god for a very successful harvest.
Hoang Anh Vietnamese Dance Group presented the next two dances, “Non Nuoc Huu Tinh” and a children’s dance “Xuan Hop Mat” (Welcome Spring). With the youngest members of the group being 6 years old, Hoang Anh Vietnamese Dance Group’s wore beautiful traditional Vietnamese outfits performing to songs that celebrate the beauty of the Vietnamese landscape, spring season, and culture.
The final dance of the day came from the Southeast Asian region with another traditional Hmong Dance – “Blessing and Welcome”. During the dance, a group of young Hmong girls wearing silver jewelry, jingling bells and white pleated skirts combined sound and color to delight the guests.
The journey through dance then moved to the Southern region of Asia, starting with a Bhutanese dance solo, “Banma Pholyo Phoolai” – a popular Nepali song about flowers, which was performed by Renuka Humugai. The music and dance were a blend of modern and traditional sounds and elements commonly found in Nepal and Southern Bhutan.
The solo performance was followed by the highly skillful Sumunar Indonesian Music & Dance Group performing “Golek Surung Dhayung”, a dance in the so-called “refined female style” which expresses the emotional state of an adolescent woman beautifying herself and imagining her lover. The rhythm of the drums follows the dancers closely and emphasizes their movements.
As with all traditional Indonesian dances, the dancers performed barefoot using carefully controlled leg, arm, and facial movements.
The first part of the program closed with the Indian region. The MN Sunshine Dance group challenged themselves with a colorful and festive “Bollywood” dance. Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for Asian Indian musical films with songs and dancing.
The dance routines are primarily modeled on Indian classical dance styles and historic Northern Indian courtesans, or tawaif, and often blend with Western dance movements.
After the intermission and first half performances, the second half of the show brought the audience to North and East Asia, starting with a Chinese holiday dance, “Red Lanterns Greeting the New Year,” performed by the CAAM Chinese Dance Theater. Bright red lanterns, lively drums and boisterous firecrackers supported the amazing dance sequences choreographed by director Lili Teng.
The Chinese dancers were followed by the Japanese dance group Sansei Yonsei Kai Japanese Children and Adult Dance Group, who performed a collection of short Japanese folk dances. The Japanese dancers’ costumes and precise gestures reflected the intensity of their discipline and training. One of the dances, “Hibari Ondo,” depicts Japanese springtime flower blossoms, and the dancers moved together in a circle to symbolize Japanese unity and cultural uniqueness.
The Japanese folk dance was followed by Korean dance performances of shamanistic rituals. The solo performance, “Salpuri,” by Grace Lee, belongs to the tradition of shamanistic dances from the southwestern province of Korea, depicts the exorcism of chaos and calamity. “Salpuri” dances differ according to the individual dancer, but as a ritual a dancer is overcome by the spirit of the dance and expresses the agonies and ecstasies of human existence. The creative and improvisational elements are among the most important features of “Salpuri.”
Following “Salpuri” was the children’s dance – “Spring Time” – a portrayal of young girls and boys play together to welcome the spring, performed by Mu Gung Hwa Korean Dance Group.
Then, the journey through North and East Asia returned to China with the “Peacock Dance.” The peacock was a totem worshipped by the Dai ethnic group on the southwest border of China. In the mind of the Dai ethnic group, the peacock stands for auspiciousness and beauty.
The dancers wore long broad skirts decorated with peacock feathers and moved with graceful rhythm, imitating peacocks looking for food, drinking, bathing and flying. The elegance of the dance is shown through the flexibility and soft movements of the performers to imitate the docility of peacocks.
The “Peacock Dance” was followed by another Chinese Dance – “Blossoms in the Spring Rain,” which was the only contemporary piece incorporating essential Chinese folk dance elements. The dancers with fans depicted beautiful flower blossoms on a rainy day through beautiful, soft, elegant dance movements performed by CAAM Chinese Dance Theater.
The Pan Asian Dance Festival came to an end with a Ribbon Dance, “Celebrating Spring,” as the finale. Over 40 dancers waving colorful ribbons in the air allowed each dance group to return to the stage to celebrate the successful performance. On a special note, the only boys group did amazing acrobatic tumbles and flips that pushed the festival to a climax and ending with the loudest audience cheers, and successfully close the first Pan Asian Dance Festival.
If you missed the show, please check Burnsville Community Television channel for a re-broadcast.
The Pan Asian Dance Festival is sponsored by the Burnsville Performing Arts Center; Burnsville Community Television; COMPAS; City of Burnsville; Friends of Burnsville Performing Arts Center; General Mills; MN Regional Arts Council; MN State Arts Board – Arts & Cultural heritage Fund; Pro Signs & Screen Printing and the Target
For more post event photos, please visit our web site at www.paaa.amamedia.org.