Dancers, Drummers, And Martial Arts Demonstrations Among Asian Festival’s Highlights
By Andy Hart
August 16, 2012
While dragon boat paddlers compete on the river, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in downtown Hartford will blossom with the colorful sights and sounds of Asian cultures during Riverfront Recapture’s Dragon Boat and Asian Festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19.
“We have scheduled two full days of authentic Asian performances, representing many Asian cultures,” says Jessica Leone, Riverfront Recapture’s Public Events Manager. Festival entertainment runs from 10am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. All performances will take place on the plaza. (A complete schedule of performances can be found on page 2.)
Returning by popular demand this year is Dance China NY, an award-winning group of dancers and musicians from New York City who electrify audiences with their performances. A Samoan fire act also is returning. New to the festival this year are Dance with Mahi, a traditional Indian dance and fashion show, and the Rhode Island Kung Fu and Lion Dance Club.
Several local organizations also are performing, including UConn Taiko, a Japanese drumming group from the University of Connecticut, the Chinese Culture Center from East Hartford, which will include Chinese classical instruments in their performances, and Asian Performing Arts of Windsor, which will perform a traditional dragon dance for the festival’s opening ceremonies as well as Chinese classical GuZheng.
Martial arts demonstrations will include Wushu, Tai Chi, and Kung Fu – performed by experts from the Hartford region – at 11 am, noon, and 1 pm on Saturday on the plaza.
Children are invited to participate in an arts and crafts booth where they can make dragon masks or decorate chopsticks to take home or get their faces painted, all free of charge. The Teach Art 2 Me booths are open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 3pm on the plaza.
“The richness of the vibrant costumes, many of which come from Asia, combine with the music and dance to transport spectators to a different part of the world,” Leone says. “For two days, the Asian festival transforms the Riverfront into a celebration of Asian cultures and introduces our guests to sights and sounds that maybe they have never seen or heard before. And it’s all free.”