Drums chased away bad energy and dancers gracefully moved across the stage, marking the start of the Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Friday.
“We want to bring awareness and appreciation to Chinese culture,” Julie Tiao Ma, president of the Chinese Fine Arts Society, said. “We want to showcase local practitioners of Chinese art and how proud they are to keep their traditions alive in Chicago.”
Ma’s late mother, Barbara Tiao, founded the CFAS, which partnered with Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which officially starts Saturday.
Some of the standout performances Friday included a number by the Cultural Center Chinese Lion Dancers.
For a preview of their Sunday show at Chicago Symphony Hall, members of Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre treated audiences with somersaults, dragon dancing and folk singing.
Angela Wan, who is trained in Chinese classical dance, said she feels the responsibility of sharing “the treasure” of the Chinese culture.
“I treasure the opportunity to introduce Chinese classic culture and Chinese classic dance, to the American society,” said Wan, a member of the Hao Dance studio in Buffalo Grove.