ST. PAUL (Feb. 7, 2010) – The North Star Ballroom of the U of MN St. Paul Student Center was filled to capacity with community looking to usher in the Year of the Tiger.
The Ha Family Entertainment Lion Dance Troupe opened the event with a towering lion that reached up over 15 feet to run the lions head through the banner hanging over the stage. The bigger than life display set the tone for a series of performances that ranged in variety and style.
The Chinese New Year is a special time for family and community functions. The Chinese community of Minnesota continues to grow and more immigrants and students were born in Chinese speaking countries that celebrate the holiday for several days.
With many Chinese organizations in the Twin Cities all organizing their own events around New Years time, there was a lot of overlap of people in multiple groups and attendance was always a concern with the chance of date and time conflicts.
Chinese community organizations then began putting together one annual event in a collaboration of the Chinese Cultural Services Center, Chinese American Academic & Professional Association, Chinese Student Association, and the Chinese Veterans Association.
Biing-Huei Su, event organizer, said the event has grown in amount of participation and attendance for the past three years since the collaborative efforts began. His only concern for the very happy occasion was that so many people had to be turned away.
“Its been sold out for the past three years,” said Biing.
As it was they packed in 520 in their event planned for 500. He said there were a few hundred more that called in the final week and had to be turned away. They couldn’t allow walk-ins at the event.
An event of this type requires dozens of volunteers said Biing. He said the growth of the event was only possible with the hard work of many people. They sold tickets, organized entertainment, raised funds, got area restaurants to donate food and businesses to donate door prizes and countless other duties.
Biing said that one highlight of this year was the good fortune to have a world famous acrobatics trainer at Circus Juventas, Xhang Xu, who made himself available to demonstrate his juggling skills fellow acrobat Rachel Butler.
Lili Teng, artistic director, CAAM Chinese Dance Theater, brought several of her dancers to perform parts of their own recent New Year spectacular. Among the acts included a duet fan dance from Yan Zhang and Joseph Lin of the Taiwan Performing Art Group.
Twin Cities Chinese Language School staff and advanced students put together a guitar Ensemble to perform a song of the holidays. First year students came out and greeted the audience with a recitation of New Year slogans and well wishes.
Scott Hennessy, a student from Woodbury, is learning Chinese to prepare for a trip to China next year with his wife Ja-Wen and their daughter, Selah, 9. He said the class meets on Saturdays for two hours and that he has homework throughout the week.
Standing before 520 mostly Chinese speaking guests and reciting his Chinese was a combination of excitement and terror, he said, but that it was a very warm and receptive audience that was together to have fun for New Years made it very much fun.
Other performances included Chinese music, a talent show and martial arts demonstrations.