Monday, May 05, 2008

Dallas Asian Festival 2008

Last weekend (May 3, 2008) the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerice (GDACC) organised its annual Asian Festival. The event aimed at showcasing Asian-American culture, food and business was staged at the Dallas City Hall Plaza in downtown. According to the GDAACC website the mission of Asian Festival is to "introduce Asian Cultures to the North Texas population" and was part of the celebration of the month of May as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This unique and colourful festival has been organised every year since the past sixteen years.

The entire City Hall area was abuzz with activities and the atmosphere was thick with the aromas of Asian food. Large crowds of Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Bangladeshis, Indonesians and of course Texans milled around the venue visiting stalls selling indigenous products, food etc. But the maximum crowd concentration seemed to be around the super-high dias/ stage where all the cultural programmes were performed. I guess this was the biggest mistake of the organisers, to erect such a high stage. It was so high that people sitting among the audience had to crane their necks to see the performances.

And there were these pesky press photographers and other camera weilding people who seemed to be glued to the stage and obstructed the view of the audience. During one of the performances I got so irritated with the press photographer I had to walk to up to the organisers and complain. One of the reasons I couldn't get any good pictures of the event.

The event featured a slew of myriad performances including and not limited to traditional Indian dance of Bharatnatyam, Bollywood funk dancing, Hawaiian dance, Indonesian music, Tae Kwondo, Shaolin Kung fu and other martial performance and of course my favourite The Chinese Lion/ Dragon Dance. Till saturday I had seen the Lion dance only in Jackie Chan movies and I must say that this is what motivated me to attend the festival. The lion dancers swirled around, jumped and danced just like a cat would do. It was thrilling to watch the live performance.

Other performances that were notable were the superb Tae Kwondo performance by the Arlington club. The group delivered an excellent performance to the racy beat of the background music. The theme of war was effectively portrayed through their dance perforance. The dances by children of Indonesia, India and Hawaii were interesting too. Here are some pictures of the festival.

Tai Chi Performance, of course you can see the photographer's backs better than the performers

Chinese Lion Dance

Chinese Lion Dance, another picture

Traditional Indian dance

Hawaiian dance by kids

Hawaiian dance by adults

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