SAINT PAUL, MN – Lead by the Pan Asian Arts Alliance, the Pan Asian Dance Festival – Symposium and Competition, was successfully presented on August 17 and 18, at the E.M. Pearson Theater of Concordia University, Saint Paul.
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The Festival offers a supportive atmosphere aimed at fostering a creative exchange of ideas, encouraging exploration of new ground and providing opportunities to experience a wide spectrum of Pan Asian dance/movement disciplines. Artists, students and audiences share their knowledge and inspiration through workshops, jams, discussions, informal showings and performances.
Hmong Dance Symposium:
The Hmong people are one of the oldest ethic groups in several countries, believed by some researchers to be from the Yellow Basin area in China. “Hmong” once unknown people have risen to the forefront of international debate as a result of their entanglement in the Vietnam War, assisting the American CIAs. After the war, thousands settle in the US, the City of St. Paul has the 2nd largest concentration of Hmong American in the Nation. Many of its culture and arts rely heavily on the oral traditions, passed down generation after generation. Many Hmong dance have lacked of systemic way to document arts, nor any research to valid its authenticity. The Hmong Dance Symposium is designed to start the discussion of Hmong Dance, and it’s transformation history throughout the World.
It was our pleasure to invite well-known Pan Asian dance teachers from the Twin Cities to speak in the Symposium. The topics we have were, “The Transformation of Hmong Dances – the Past, Current, and Future” by Teacher Pei Shen; “Reflection of Hmong/Chinese Dance Movement in the USA” by Teacher Kaiwen You; “Asian Indian Dance Movement in the USA” by Teacher Sivanuja Balaji; and “Hmong Dances Impacted by the Hmong New Year Competitions” by Teacher Iny Xiong. Discussions followed after the presentations, which was fun, interesting, and interactive among all guests and the teachers.
The Competition: Throughout this 2-day festival, all the audiences could feel the intensity from the dance competition and were amazed by the dancers professionalism and their hard work. There were 5 dance competition categories performed, which include, Ensemble for 8-12 children, Ensemble for 13-17 youth, Ensemble for 18+ youth, Modern Dance, and Solo/Duet/Trio. Total, we have 36 dance groups and 19 solo/duet/trio dancers participated in this competition.
To gain the highest score from our Judges wasn’t easy. All the dancers had to fulfill all the judging criteria – Dance, Performance, and Presentation. There was also additional score for Creativity. And our judges, who have high credential in the Pan Asian dance field, they are – Guo Hua Jin, Julie Kerr-Berry, Kaiwen You, and Sivanuja Balaji. After all the performances and scoring, the Judges found that all dance groups were very competitive. Which group gets the award became a very difficult decision! Finally, the hard decisions were made, and here are our awarded groups:
The Best of the Best:
Mickie Vang, Pa Xiong, Pa Saema, “Searching for Mother”.
Best Show Stopper, the most energetic group selected by the Judges:
Eh Shea Taw Taw, “Karen Don Dance”.
Ensemble for 8-12 children:
- 1st Place – Mulan Dancers, “Daughters of Bamboo Forest”.
- 2nd Place – Mulan Dancers, “Dance of Miao Girls in the Mountain”.
- 2nd Place – Fireflies, “Joyful Festival”.
- 2nd Place – Mulan Dancers, “Lotus Spring Blossom”.
- 3rd Place – Paj Ntshua Nplaim, “Butterfly Dance”.
- 3rd Place – Paj Ntshua Nplaim, “Joyful Ladies”.
- 3rd Place – Hmong Peace, “Hmong Dance”.
- 3rd Place – Fireflies, “Little Riders in the Prairie”.
- 3rd Place – Silver Skies, “Flowers in the Rain”.
Ensemble for 13-17 youth:
- 1st Place – MN Sunshine, “Chundramhuki Bollywood Dance”.
- 2nd Place – MN Sunshine, “Dancing Flower”.
- 3rd Place – Ocean, “Dil Le Ja Bollywood Dance”.
- 3rd Place – Ocean, “Peacock Dance”.
- 3rd Place – Nkauj Ntxuam Dej, “Dance of the Peony Maidens”.
Ensemble for 18+ youth:
- 1st Place – MN Sunshine, “Water Bucket”.
- 2nd Place – MN Sunshine, “Thai Dance”.
- 3rd Place – Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center, “Lucky Peacock”.
- 1st Place – Motion Crew, “In the Place to be”.
- 2nd Place – Neon Kasset, “Fantastic Remix”.
- 3rd Place – BioFreaks, “Rise of the Freaks”.
- 1st Place – Mickie Vang, Pa Xiong, Pa Saema, “Searching for Mother”.
- 1st Place – Drisya Reghuram, “Thillana”.
- 2nd Place – Wendy Vang, “Memory of the Yellow River”.
- 2nd Place – Wendy Vang, “Love of the Dragon”.
- 2nd Place – XueFeng Lee, “The White Armistice Peacock”.
- 3rd Place – Mailia Xiong, Yang-Chee Yang, “Maio Lovers in Guizhou”.
- 3rd Place – Drisya, “Mallari”.
- 3rd Place – Ntxhais Suab Ntsa, “Hmong Dance”.
This event is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. Other major sponsors include: St. Paul Cultural STAR grant, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Target Foundation, with a Special Thanks to all our Advisory Committee: Asian Media Access, Cambodian Dance Group, Dao Lan Dance Studio, Hoang Anh Vietnamese Dance Group, Iny Asian Dance Theater, Alaya Lee, Karen Cultural Organization of MN, Mu Gung Hwa Korean Dance Group, Sansei Yonsei Kai Japanese Children and Adult Dance Group, Sumunar Indonesian Dance Ensemble, c/o Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota, and Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center. For more information, please visit www.panasianartsalliance.org.