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Jasmine dancers perform at the 2020 Nelson-Atkins Chinese New Year Celebration

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

To celebrate the Year of the Rat, Jasmine Chinese Dance Group performed a variety of traditional Chinese dances.

Author: Serena Xiao

Jasmine dancers perform "Scarves and Ink."

In late January of each year, the Nelson-Atkins Museum is filled with red lanterns, traditional Chinese music, live demonstrations, and dance performances. This year, on January 26, 2020, hundreds of people flocked to downtown Kansas City to experience the Nelson Chinese New Year Celebration. Through this celebration, members of the Kansas City community were able to come together in appreciation and festivity for this special holiday. With a variety of events like live dance performances, fashion shows, story times, and traditional Chinese food, visitors were able to immerse themselves in the festivities of China’s biggest celebration of the year. In addition to the many performances, visitors had the opportunity to partake in a number of workshops, such as calligraphy or origami. To celebrate the Year of the Rat, Jasmine Chinese Dance Group performed a variety of traditional Chinese dances.

Jasmine’s dance performances ran from 1:45 to 2:40 pm in the Atkins Auditorium. The area was packed, as people of all different nationalities gathered to watch the dancers showcase traditional and modern Chinese dances.

The Jasmine Youth dancers performed two stunning pieces: Scarves and Ink and A Chu. In Scarves and Ink, dancers performed this beautiful classical dance with a special prop: black scarves. Representing brush strokes in traditional Chinese calligraphy, Scarves and Ink captivated audiences as the dancers brought traditional ink calligraphy and paintings to life. For their second piece, Jasmine Youth dancers showed off a modern lyrical piece entitled A Chu. Additionally, a children’s dance, A Dream in a Trunk, was performed by a group of adorable, young Jasmine dancers. Other classical dances like Moonlit Wishes, Bamboo Forest, and Peach Blossom, were breathtaking portrayals of traditional Chinese culture. Several dances included the use of classical props such as fans and ribbons. For one special dance near the end of the program, students from the Chinese Immersion Program in the Blue Valley School District were featured. In this performance, Back to Yanxi Palace of the Qing Dynasty, audiences were captured in a whirlwind experience which revealed the daily life of those living in the Yanxi Palace during the Qing Dynasty.

Jasmine dancers perform "Dream in a Trunk."

After the performances, many dancers and parents were approached by audience members, complimenting the dancers and the showcase. Several expressed their gratitude in allowing the KC community to experience such a grand celebration of the rich and vibrant Chinese culture. Additionally, many were delighted to see how nearby school districts were urging students to join in on the festivities of the Lunar New Year. Many visitors thought Jasmine did a wonderful job of sharing the beautiful Chinese art of dance with people of all different nationalities. Through the celebration of the Year of the Rat, visitors were able to gain insight to a new and fascinating culture.

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