Situated in the bowels of inner Downtown Livermore on a bright Saturday morning. Vendors setting up Asian treats and beverages. Heritage meant for spectators to browse and peruse in all of the booths. A celebration shared by many cultures, marking back roughly 2,000 years. On Jan. 21, 2023, Livermore Valley Arts kicked off the Lunar New Year with Las Positas College in its Lunar New Year Celebration.
Lunar New Year signals the arrival of spring. The beginning of each Lunar new year falls on the lunisolar calendar, which changes every year. Each new year is represented by a Chinese zodiac, this year being the Year of the Rabbit. The rabbit is associated with wealth and peace.
Las Positas College and Livermore Valley Arts have joined in the festivities to ring in the new year. From solo performances celebrating the long traditions of combat rituals to the group performances that symbolize the eternal renewal in Chinese culture.
Las Positas College sponsored the event alongside the Independent and the United States Chinese Dance Association. Las Positas Representative Sarah Anderson was hired as part of an initiative to share the mission the President’s office sets out.
“It’s really special that we get to be here and have our sponsor here,” said Anderson. According to the Las Positas website, LPC’s mission is to provide an” inclusive, learning-centered, equity-focused environment.”
She said, “This is part of a series of events from last year sponsored by the college…It all started with a Filipino event from the Fall.”
In 2022, Las Positas sponsored another Livermore Valley Arts event called the Filipino Barrio Fiesta, marking the start of Filipino American History Month.
Now, in 2023, Las Positas continues its initiative of sponsoring local events with the second Livermore Lunar New Year Celebration.
The first performance of the day was a Tai Chi demonstration by Richard Cheng. Cheng taught the crowd the basics of Tai-Chi while impressing with some more advanced skills.
There were a number of other solo and group performances. One performance called the Lotus Dance showcased a slow and ritualistic dance to mimic the bloom of a lotus. Another performance inspired by Mulan mixed acrobatic movements to amplify combat, rising in tension to the beat of a violent drum.
In addition, the Martial Arts group Kung Fu Dragon USA, based in Livermore, demonstrated two groups fighting amongst an increasingly rageful dragon puppet. Younger performers showcased their dancing prowess, like the XiaoPei dance group that used their long sleeves to enhance flowy movements.
Situated along the entrance to the theater doors were vendors that showcased their art. Vendors like Maria Utyagamova, who sold glass bottles filled with glitter, were glad to join the festivities of the event.
“This has been my second year with the event,” said Utyagamova. “Good performances to see and a family audience.”
Las Positas College has more events planned to exemplify its mission.