Lunar New Year Festival, Saturday, February 10, 2024, ACC Northridge Lecture Hall

Lunar New Year Festival – February 10, 2024

Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays for East and Southeast Asian cultures. The festival marks the beginning of the lunar calendar. It is celebrated by over 1 billion people around the world, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and many more.

In 2024, the Lunar New Year heralds the arrival of the Year of the Dragon, an auspicious and highly anticipated zodiac year. The Chinese zodiac is a twelve-year cycle, each year is associated with an animal sign. The dragon is the only mythical creature in this cycle. Dragons represent strength, courage, and good fortune. Those that were born in the Year of the Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, and 2024) are believed to embody these outstanding traits.

The Lunar New Year is a time to reflect on the past, express gratitude, and look forward to a year filled with positivity, good fortune, and the promise of new beginnings.

On Saturday, February 10, 2024, the AAPI Cultural Center hosted a Lunar New Year Festival at ACC Northridge. It was an afternoon of enchanting performances showcasing the Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team, QiLi Dance Studio, Guqin player Heather Couture, Pipa player Qifang Hu, and Aiping Tai Chi Center – Austin.

Our Performers:

Aditya Rao

Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team

The Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team (TDDT) based in Austin since 2000, comprises local college students and Austinites from diverse backgrounds. Dedicated to sharing and introducing the art of dragon and lion dance, TDDT stands out as one of Central Texas’s few year-round performance groups, captivating audiences at events ranging from elementary schools and cultural festivals to weddings. Notably, they showcased their skills at the Austin Community College AAPI Cultural Center’s 2023 Lunar New Year Event. While their performances span various occasions, TDDT’s prime season is during the Lunar New Year, where they engage in a flurry of back-to-back shows for businesses and organizations across Austin.

Yuxin Mei

QiLi Dance Studio

In 2023, Aimee Keller founded QiLi Dance Studio to fulfill her long-standing dream of preserving and sharing the beauty of Chinese dance. Aimee’s journey began with classes at Austin Community College during high school, leading to the completion of her Associate of Arts Degree in dance in 2023. Her time at ACC not only propelled her professional career but also enabled her to establish QiLi Dance Studio. Committed to representing the diverse ethnic groups of China and incorporating modern influences, the studio, located in the Austin area, provides classes for all age groups.

Anuradha Ramachandra

Heather Couture

Heather Couture initiated her music education journey at Texas State University under the guidance of Dr. Lynn Ledbetter. Engaging in various musical pursuits, including the Symphony Orchestra, chamber music ensembles, and Gamelan Lipi Awan, she earned recognition for her research on Chinese diasporic musical performance, Shen Yun, following a study abroad in China.

Graduating summa cum laude in music, Heather pursued advanced studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Texas at Austin, culminating in a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology. Her extensive world music performance background encompasses Japanese Gagaku, Chinese Jiangnan Sizhu, Javanese Gamelan, and Balinese Gamelan. Heather currently balances performing in chamber ensembles or solo, teaching private violin lessons, and offering masterclasses, aiming to share the cultural richness of Guqin with students in Central Texas. She also teaches ethnomusicology courses at Texas Lutheran University and actively participates in professional music associations.

Anuradha Ramachandra

Qifang Hu

Qifang Hu, a doctoral candidate in music at the University of Texas at Austin, employs a diverse interdisciplinary approach in exploring East Asian music studies, with a specific focus on popular music and world music ensemble pedagogy. Her academic pursuits span various cultural facets, including earning an MPhil degree in ethnomusicology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Qifang’s thesis, titled “Between Literati and Folk: Pipa Anthologies in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries,” delves into the historical role of the pipa—a Chinese pear-shaped plucked lute—during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican period in China.

Qifang’s connection to Asian music is deeply ingrained, with her childhood proficiency in playing the pipa and serving as the principal pipa player in her school’s Chinese orchestra. She has garnered invitations to perform in China, France, and the United States. Beyond the pipa, her musical repertoire extends to instruments such as the Japanese biwa, Javanese gamelan, Korean drums, and the Okinawan sanshin, showcasing her diverse musical prowess and cultural appreciation.

Anuradha Ramachandra

Aiping Tai Chi Center – Austin

Tai Chi, originating in China, has been practiced by people of all ages for centuries, offering numerous health benefits through regular practice. Aiping Tai Chi Center – Austin, established in 2018, traces its lineage to the founders of Tai Chi in China. The school, under the lead instructor Shifu Fong Zhang, who grew up in China and practiced Tai Chi for over 20 years, focuses on improving members’ physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing through authentic and quality Tai Chi instructions. Shifu Fong incorporates Chinese language and culture in her classes, providing an enriched experience for her students.

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Our Vision

To support AAPI students in their academic journey at ACC and create opportunities for the community throughout the district to learn about and engage with the AAPI heritage and cultures.