By Demi Guo
The Great Neck Chinese Association’s annual Lunar New Year celebration saw a full house and enthusiastic response this Sunday, as it embraced both Chinese classics and modern twists.
It was a bilingual affair, with stand-ups in Chinese and lengthy English explanations for the background of each performance. All age groups were present, from children reciting poetry to teens bopping to BTS – a South Korean boy band – to adults performing classical opera.
“We are very happy to sponsor the event. Without our hundred-plus hardworking volunteers, this event would not be possible,” Nathan Fong, president of the Great Neck Chinese Association, said.
Approximately 600 people showed to watch everything in the Great Neck North Middle School auditorium, Fong said. Members of assorted dance troupes, presented by the Jennifer Zhu Dance Company and New York Wealth, came together in a variety of performances meant as a display for the community.
“It was very Chinese,” said Kasey Wong, a first-timer whose child was on stage. “And the quality standards of the performances were very good.”
The event incorporated not only household Chinese classics, including the Butterfly Lovers and a martial arts performance to the Once Upon a Time in China theme, but western and Korean influences.
A drum dance was a nod to the Korean ethnicity of China, a K-pop medley was a nod to the genre’s explosion in current generations, and the performance opened and closed on Strauss and Swan Lake.
“It’s incredible,” Donald Ashkenase, the vice president of the Great Neck school board, said. “Meeting the needs of all the children. Diversification in this community is our strength.”
On the lunar calendar, the upcoming New Year marks the beginning of the year of the pig. The date itself lands on Tuesday, Feb. 5 this year.