Dance of the dragon

Dragon dancing, rapping, break dancing, martial arts and fashion shows were all part of the Vietnamese Student Association’s (VSA) annual Culture and Dance Show, Sunday.

The festivities, which were held in conjunction with the celebration of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, began with a performance of a traditional dragon dance. Students performed acrobatic maneuvers beneath the brightly colored costumes to a booming drumbeat before a packed audience in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom.

After the dancing, the masters of ceremony welcomed the crowd.

“This is a great opportunity to show our values to the community,” Vong Nguyen, one of the masters of ceremony said.

Oregon Vietnamese Community Association President Nguyen Bac-Ai gave a brief speech, mostly in Vietnamese, urging Vietnamese people to participate in their community, after which there was a fashion show of aodai, the traditional long dress worn by Vietnamese women.

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Following the aodai show, events took a more modern turn, with a series of skits involving students dancing rapping, lip syncing, and acting in Vietnamese to booming music, complimented by colorful, flashing theater lighting.

Students and families in the crowd socialized and cheered on their friends on stage throughout the afternoon.

Most of the events were announced in Vietnamese, with no English translation. VSA President Thuy Ho explained that originally it had been planned to provide English translation, but the English segment was dropped due to time constraints.

The Sunday cultural show followed a dance Saturday night, at which Vietnamese pop singer Bao-Han made an appearance.

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The culture show was originally planned for January 10, but was postponed because preparations could not be made in time due to the snowstorm earlier in the month.

The VSA has more than doubled in size in recent years, and now has almost 100 members, according to Ho.

The VSA is now concentrating its efforts on expanding its programs, such as the addition of a children’s program, which provides adopted children from Vietnam a link to their culture and heritage, Ho said.