AsianFest: Performance Highlights of the 2016 Festival
A sneak peek on traditional Asian dances to look forward to
AsianFest Prague will take place on April 30th 2016 at Výstavište Holešovice and will feature food from China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea. The festival introduces an entirely new concept and will transport visitors into the heart of Asia using traditional decorations and cultural performances.
The performances will be one of the highlights of AsianFest as many of them are rare to see outside of China. The dances will be performed by Kenning Productions, an agency with its own team of performers, artists and technology. Ajna Kenning, the CEO of the company, gives Prague.TV the exclusive sneak peek.
Chinese traditional dances:
The Chinese Lion Dance: The traditional dance has barely changed since it originated several centuries ago. With a minimum of three dancers, the performance consists of two dancers forming the body of the lion and the third representing a young boy. During the dance, the boy awakens the lion and plays with it; teaching it tricks and taming it.
At the beginning, the lion acts like a playful puppy but during the training the lion learns various acrobatic exercises and then even combat elements at the end. The entire performance is accompanied by traditional music and Chinese drums.
“It is important to explain why the Chinese lion doesn't look like a regular African lion,” explains Kenning. “Today’s appearance of the Chinese lion comes from ancient history and mythology of China.”
Since Chinese-African relations were scarce in ancient times, the appearance of a lion was passed on solely through oral storytelling and legends. The dance is traditionally performed at Chinese New Year celebrations and you can get preview of the performance here.
The Chinese Dragon Dance: One of the best known Chinese attractions around the world, the traditional dance is rarely seen outside of Asia. It is performed at all official and non-official celebrations because the dragon is considered one of the most powerful beings in China.
“The dragon represents not only power but also wisdom and luck,” explains Kenning. “The Chinese dragon has also always been the symbol of the heavenly mandate to the emperor.”
The dance isn’t exclusive to China: you can see it across all of Asia from the northernmost part of the continent all the way down to islands including Indonesia or the Philippines. The symbol of the dragon has a powerful influence on the Chinese culture and mythology. You can preview a Chinese dragon dance here.
Traditional Asian Dances:
Korea: A wide range of Korean dances, both traditional and stylized, will be performed by the group Trn v oku (Thorn in the Eye). In addition to these performances, AsianFest visitors will be able to experience the traditional dance Buchaechum.
“Buchaechum is a traditional form of dance performed by a group of dancers. It is popular at a variety of celebrations and performers use large colorful fans decorated with delicately painted peony flowers,” says Kenning.
The dance is primarily visual and the dancers create various shapes symbolizing anything from flowers and butterflies to wool. The dancers wear hanbok dresses – a traditional Korean costume for women made with brightly-colored materials. See the hanbok-dressed dancers in action here.
Japan: Enjoy the unique dances inspired by the original performances of geishas in Gion, Kyoto as well as other folklore dances from various regions of Japan. Visitors will experience the spring dance of the cherry blossoms and other performances full of colorful fans and hand painted window sills.
These dances will be choreographed by Ajna Kenning herself. Kenning studied classical Japanese dance nihon buyo. You can see a similar colorful performance here.
“All Japanese performances will be performed in authentic kimonos including all the indispensable supplements such as: rich obi belts, shoes and hairstyles,” explains Kenning. “The dancers will be dressed exactly according to Japanese designs.”
AsianFest: A festival of Asian Gastronomy (Prague.TV - Living Like a Local, 01.03.2016)
AsianFest Prague: www.asianfest.cz
AsianFest Prague - Tickets: www.asianfest.cz/en/about-tickets
Ajna Kenning: www.ajna.cz
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