This past weekend, I had the honor of attending my very first Lunar New Year Festival (affectionately referred to as LNYF), and the entire experience left me wondering … Why didn’t I go last year?
LNYF occurs annually as a student-run production that serves as a celebration to the Chinese New Year via various traditional Asian performances. Not only is LNYF an entertaining event for the student body to attend and participate in, but it also works with a partner organization to fundraise for a different philanthropy every year. This year, it partnered with Food Outreach, a St. Louis area organization that provides food for low-income HIV and cancer patients.
Knowing that this event will help the local community and those in underprivileged circumstances is enough to get most people to attend, but LNYF goes above and beyond with their production. Although audience members were not allowed to record/capture footage of the performance, I hope that these photos — courtesy of amazing student photographer Jiyoon Kang — will give you a piece of the fantastical journey I took through these performances.
The opening was a fearsome — yet strangely adorable — lion dance. The costumes were absolutely stunning!
Tinikling is a traditional Filipino dance that involves tapping, sliding, and moving long, bamboo poles. As the dancers weaved through the poles and constantly exchanged places, the dance seemed extremely intricate.
Are they juggling swords? I had that exact question — and the answer is yes. 😮
Samulnori is a Korean performance on different types of percussive instruments … I’ll admit that I REALLY wanted to learn after watching this.
A fashion show displayed the styles of various traditional Asian clothing. The models killed it!
Watersleeves comes from Chinese traditional dance. It was definitely one of the most beautiful performances I’ve ever seen.
Every year, LNYF puts on a different skit and disperses the scenes throughout the show. This year, the topic centered around the LGBTQ+ community. Though many of the scenes were very moving, at least I can tell you that there was a happy ending 🙂
The standing drums were definitely one of my favorites — the rhythms seemed almost impossible, but the performance was absolutely flawless!
The Chinese fan performance was just breath-taking! Each individual fan seemed to be part of an even larger whole, and the formations taken by the dancers really unified this idea.
As I am a fan of watching dance in general, the fusion dance team really took my breath away!
From tumbling and flying across the stage to battling it out with swords, this group definitely made martial arts come to life with their performance.
Who could ever forget hula? The dance and atmosphere were so relaxing to watch!
I have to say, Chinese yo-yo had me on the edge of my seat. I’ve never felt the urge to scream so loudly before. A.MAZ.ING.
You can probably tell already, but Dai was another beautiful performance. The visuals really shone through this dance!
As you can see, LNYF is an amazing and very special event. With over 200 performers and more students helping run and promote the show, it is definitely something that the student body looks forward to every year.
Likewise, I was extremely moved by the performance — not only by the dances, but by the sheer amount of effort and passion I could tell were dedicated to the show. Perhaps I’ll try to be a part of this captivating event in future years. One thing I know for sure is that I will never miss out on another one for as long as I’m here.
All photos used here were taken by and belong to Jiyoon Kang Photography.