On Saturday, January 24th, the University of Pennyslvania Museum ushered in the Chinese New Year and paid tribute to the Year of the Ox. The ox is the Chinese zodiac symbol of prosperity, through fortitude and hard work.
This day long family cultural celebration featured several Chinese dance companies, inluding Penn Chinese Dance Club, the Mei Mei Dancers and Pan Asian Dance Troupe, and the Jade River Dance Company.
The Jade River Dancers performed in the Harrison Auditorium drawing from their repertoire of traditional dances including the Hat Dance, Iron Fan Dance, and the Spinning Handkerchief Dance. Boys with the troupe demonstrated their dexterity with a giant Chinese yo-yo.
The Penn Chinese Dance Club is dedicated to performing and propagating Chinese folk and ethnic dances. They were the first collegiate organized Chinese dance group to be established in the greater Philadelphia area. Their performances include displays of Chinese classical folk dances and ethnic dances such as the Han Dynasty dance, Tibet dance and Dunhuang dance.
The Mei Mei Dancers now numbering about 26 in the troupe is under the direction of Helen and Yu-Chuan Cline. Their dancers range in age from 3 years to adult and offer a a variety of cultural dances – round fan dance, lantern dance, tambourine dance, Spring Fairy/Flower dance, Happy Farmer/Straw Hat dance, and the traditional Lion Dance.
The only dance troupe of its kind at the University of Pennsylvania, the Pan-Asian Dance Troupe seeks to celebrate and educate the community on Pan-Asian culture through traditional, modern and fusion dances, and to establish an organization in which people of all nationalities can learn to express themselves through the art of dance.
All in all, just like the Ox, these dance troupes showed their hard work and sustained efforts. More importantly, they continue to contribute to the rich cultural diversity of the dance community in the greater Philadelphia region.