LNYF annual show dazzles with performances filmed across St. Louis

The Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF) is back with its performance for the Year of the Ox: “Unwavering”. The club adjusted its performance wonderfully to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and managed to run a very cohesive program despite having to perform entirely virtually.

This year they partnered with the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition to “Support for foster and adopted children in the metropolis of St. LouisCindy Zhuang and Richard Ni, executive directors of the show, introduced the philanthropy organization. In addition, Ni addressed the ongoing fight against Asian hatred in our country, hoping the show “shows that they are proud of their heritage and reminds that all identities and backgrounds are beautiful and deserve respect and love”.

The program began with a pre-show by Lily Luu on the dàn tranh, a plucked Vietnamese zither. Luu impressively played both the melody and the harmony of a piece called “Tinh Ca Trê Lúa”. Luu’s performance of the complex song was very nice. Four other students then performed the song “Tong Hua”, which means “fairy tale”. Ariel Feng played guitar and sang, Nick Ho played guitar, David Maeng played drums, and Michael Dizon played piano. Their performance offered a nice modern contrast to the traditional Dàn Tranh performance.

Skits were presented in eight different segments throughout the show. There were four monologues, all written and performed by LNYF members, all written and performed by LNYF members, and covering many topics including sexual assault, racism and the stereotypes of Asians and Americans from Asia. By breaking up the monologues but keeping an ongoing theme of passion and beautiful, unique storytelling, LYNF reinforced this year’s theme of “Unwavering”. The stories continued throughout the program, but the mood remained constant.

The next hula segment showed the “symbolic dance moves” of traditional Hawaiian mythology and history. This scene had extraordinary cinematography adapted for social distancing. It was filmed in different locations in the St. Louis area, then the videos of the dancers were merged as if they were in the same location. Between the backdrop and the gorgeous Hawaiian skirts, this performance provided a stunning take as an introduction to the rest of the dance.

I was also very impressed with the graphic design of the program. From the transitions to the animated introduction of the members it was clear that the editors were not taking their work lightly. I especially liked the segment where it looked like a desktop screen and a transition between different members. This was such a cute and unique way to incorporate the struggles of online teaching into the program in an uplifting way.

Next came samulnori, a word that combines the Korean word “samui” for four things and “nori” for game. This performance has four types of instruments, each representing some type of weather, to celebrate an “abundant harvest”. This segment was filmed outside Brookings Hall.

The yoyo section was a choreographed performance accompanied by edited motion graphics and glowing yoyos. This fast-paced choreography challenged you not to blink an eye for fear of missing out. The performers used many types of yoyos and showed amazing precision throughout the performance.

Chinese Fan was a beautiful performance that fused elements of ballet, modern and Chinese dance with flowing white fans. This part had different musical nuances that showed the diverse talent of the dancers. They alternated between gently flowing music and more intense, fast-paced music. It was particularly impressive that the dancers all moved simultaneously and with such precision, even though they were not dancing together as a physical group.

The senior dance featured the senior citizens performing in their final LNYF year. The combination and variety of music in this section showed how this community has nurtured an amazing and accepting group of people. It included all seniors, including those who were not primarily involved in the dance part of the community. This middle section contained modern trend songs like “WAP”, which create a lighter atmosphere.

The standing drum section was next, and they displayed an effortless but complex combination of traditional Korean percussion and contemporary rhythm. The cinematography of this section was alive and really added to the intensity of the music and choreography. This performance was incredibly entertaining, and the visual effects added to the listening performance.

The final dance section was presented by the Fusion group who used a variety of different dance styles from hip hop to classical Chinese. The talent shown in this section was diverse but very coherent among members. You could see that they had a very fun and inspiring relationship.

The program ended with juggling. These members displayed their talents with many different props such as glow-in-the-dark balls and hoops. Like many other dancers, she took advantage of various landscapes in the St. Louis area and beyond.

It was exciting to see the program come together despite the apparent barrier of COVID-19. These community members still featured an impressive array of artists and creators at Washington University who were able to showcase their talent and culture even without performing live.

LNYF isn’t the only group to have appeared recently. The following also happens:

Plastic, pain and strength: As the debut of ‘Pathways’, MFA candidates reflect on their artistic journeys

Black Anthology, the first student-run cultural show to return to Edison, is navigating pandemic restrictions to produce the 32nd show

‘FOCUS’ captures the audience in their own minds (in a good way)

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