Lunar New Year Festival 2015: Celebrating the Year of the Ram​​

​Traditional Phillipine dance tin​ikling is one of the Asian art forms celebrated at annual showcase at Edison Theatre

Washington University in St. Louis students rehearse their tinikling dance for the annual Lunar New Year Festival.

“Smile the entire time. Love your life.”

That’s what Christopher Cahoon, a junior in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, instructed his team of 16 student dancers as they rehearsed the traditional Phillippine dance tinikling for Lunar New Year Festival 2015: The Year of the Ram.

Lunar New Year 2015

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30;
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday,
Jan. 31

Where: Edison Theatre

How much: $10

To learn more: Visit the Lunar New Year website at

“If you were nervous before, hopefully you are not anymore,” Cahoon said.

What is there to be nervous about? The complicated choreography? The rapid rhythms? Or the 10-foot bamboo poles threatening to smack your ankles and trip your feet?

“The bamboo sticks definitely can be intimidating, but we haven’t any serious injuries yet,” Cahoon joked during a break from the rehearsal.

Tinikling will be one of more than a dozen performances scheduled for this year’s festival, an annual showcase of Asian arts forms and culture. Other highlights include Chinese fan dancing, hula dancing, Taekwondo and Samulnori, a type of Korean percussion music. This year, Lunar New Year is raising funds for Action Against Hunger, which provides food to hunger hotspots in Chad, Kenya, Sudan and other nations in need.

Marie Liu, a junior in Arts & Sciences and executive board member of Lunar New Year, says the the performances will reflect the spirit of the ram.

“Grace, strength, compassion — those are qualities of sheep,” said Liu, who is performaing at the festival. “That also is what the Lunar New Year Festival is about.”