Group rings in Chinese New Year

The Chinese American Student Association gave students another chance to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the Hippodrome Friday. The official holiday took place in China two weeks ago, but celebrations continued for the Year of the Snake with dancing and a free buffet.

Grace Li, CASA secretary and one of the event’s emcees, said the group’s 120 members threw the celebration to “make sure that everybody has fun and learns a little bit more about the Chinese and Chinese Americans.”

The celebration featured the Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe, whose six- and seven-year-old girls performed a range of traditional dances to brighten the spirits, welcome the spring rains and blossoms and retell Chinese fairy tales.

The audience gasped and cheered at demonstrations by the GW Martial Arts Club. Members explained that martial arts are forms of stylized combat and discipline drawing from the movements of birds, snakes, monkeys, rabbits, cats and other animals.

Ernest Zhang Mingzhuo, whose combat style resembles a monkey’s movements, stunned the crowd when he asked, “Which is stronger, this glass bottle or this magazine?” and immediately shattered the glass with one sharp magazine strike. At night’s end, the Martial Arts Club gave a sparring and self-defense demonstration called “Mortal Kombat.”

Li said the CASA members hoped to provide a celebration of the old and new by performing traditional and contemporary dances. The Fairfax dance troupe exhibited a hip-hop dance number to a Taiwanese friendship song, followed by a “rave” performance in which CASA members cut the lights and maneuvered glow sticks to modern Chinese music.

GW student Keith Wong played guitar and sang Chinese pop melodies at the celebration.

Georgetown Wok and the Mei-Wah restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue provided the food.

-Mira Siegal-Sperling

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