For China’s Dai minority, the peacock is a symbol of both grace and power. That’s why choreographer Kristine Xu chose to stage a traditional Dai peacock dance for this year’s Lunar New Year Festival.
“Peacocks are not dainty, fragile animals,” said Xu, a sophomore studying economics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. “When they open their feathers, they are big and bold. We wanted to capture that spirit. I think the S-shape movements of our dance and color and flash of our costumes will make for a really exciting performance.”
Dai dance will be one of the many featured art forms at this year’s Lunar New Year Festival. Other highlights include Chinese fan, Korean standing drums and Philippine tinikling.
Xu, who has been performing Chinese ethnic dance since she was 9 years old, is as eager to be an observer as a dancer at Lunar New Year.
“Behind every dance is a rich culture,” Xu said. “This experience has taught me so much about the Dai minority but also other Asian people. I’m glad I get to share that with my friends and all of St. Louis.”
Lunar New Year Festival is at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Edison Theatre in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6465 Forsyth Blvd.