Lunar New Year takes the stage

Student volunteers get involved in the show by balancing plates on sticks as part of one of the acts.


            The Lunar New Year Festival took the spotlight with cultural dining and dancing on February 11. The event featured an ethnic dinner and transitioned into a traditional performance.

            The festival began with a long line of students and guests getting ready to pile cultural delicacies onto their plates. The menu included lo mein, fried rice, various chicken dishes, and fortune cookies. Maya Dering, an attendee and performer in the show, expressed, “I thought the food was really delicious. There was a lot of variety and different options for people with dietary restrictions.”

            Freshman Lillian Yang said she attended partially because of the food. “When I heard that there was going to be a dragon dance and authentic food, I was interested to see the reactions of other people and what they thought about Chinese culture.”

Lina Liu, from the Lina Liu Performance, team performs a spinning plate act.

            After eating dinner, the attendees followed hallways decorated with festive red and yellow balloons to the auditorium to watch a series of performances. The show started with a lion dance. Fatima Syed, one of the lion dancers, explained the process of getting her role. “Mrs. Liao had asked if anyone wanted to join the lion dancing team and I thought it would be a fun experience, so I volunteered. We did a few practices runs of the dance and it turned out well, so it was decided that I was going to be in the lion.”

            Practice had gone well in the weeks leading up to the festival. Linda Portocarrero shared, “We had about 3 one-hour practice meetings and then two or three entire show rehearsals where we perfected the exit and entrance.”

            The evening continued with various professional and student acts along with a short speech from members of the staff, Asian American Club, and Chinese Honor Society. Yang stated, “I really enjoyed seeing performances from the Asian American Club dance team. I know that they worked hard on their dance routines, so I looked forward into seeing the outcome.”

Dr. Sasso serves food to Nusraat Chowdhury, one of the student performers.

            Students in the Mandarin Chinese program showed off their skills in speaking the language through singing and dancing segments. One of the student performers who sang in Chinese, Juliet Matara, said, “We were all very nervous before going on stage and practiced a lot beforehand. The actual performance was surprisingly not as scary as I imagined, and I was just glad I got to contribute to the event!”

            The show included various performances, such as a duet, a dance crew, a Chinese yoyo diabolo act, a spinning plate act including students from the audience, and a Chinese fan dance. “The event went beyond my expectations,” expressed Armaan Dullat, who had a big part in planning the event. “The audience seemed to enjoy being involved in the plate spinning activity of the dance troupe, and the smile on our teacher’s face brought great joy to everyone.”

Li Ping Zhang performs Bian Lian, which involves elaborate costumes and masks.

            Shanman Liao, Mandarin Chinese teacher and the event organizer, described her passion for bringing the festival to life, “I like to bring cultural diversity and awareness of Chinese culture to the OB community. I am grateful that I have been able to do so, while promoting the fact that the Chinese language is not hard, just different.”

            Matara expressed agreement, stating “I think it’s very important as to contribute to the diversity of our school and represent the different cultures that make up our student body.” The show and event ended with a slideshow presenting videos of younger kids singing along to Chinese songs and the performers taking a bow.

Posted on 3/8/22

Photos by Dani Borovskaia, Karolina Lustica, and Lors Photography

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