Tuseday, April 19 was cloudy, rainy and a bit cold, but the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History offered much more than shelter for families with school children on their April vacation. Tuesday April 19 was the first ever Family Day at the Museum, which came alive with games and activities for children of all ages, including a mini-golf putting contest, a giant millipede maze, mask coloring stations and more. The event drew several hundred people with their children and grandchildren, from all over the region.
During the afternoon, several performing groups showcased music and dance from a variety of Asian cultures, including Chinese dance, traditional Chinese and Vietnamese music, and dances from the Dai ethnic group of China and the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia. Jen Nguyen and Wanting Zhang of the Chinese Music Ensemble played a selection of traditional Chinese and Vietnamese arrangements for the erhu (Chinese violin) and guzheng, a Chinese zither. Members of the Xi Wang Dance School performed next, showcasing the elegance and fluidity of the Chinese Peacock Dance, and a childrens performance from the Dai culture of China. To wrap-up the afternoon of performances, the ISF offered a demonstration of some traditional Silat Tuo movements, including the Kembangen flower dance, and the candle and plate dance which is often performed at traditional Minagkabau wedding ceremonies.
The children in attendance even had the opportunity to learn some of the dance movements from far-away cultures. The girls from the Dai ethnic dance invited audience participation, and several young boys and girls jumped at the opportunity. Several of the same students and some additional children returned to the dance floor to learn some Indonesian dance movements from the ISF. They sat and the floor and picked up empty plates used to practice the candle dance. Many children in attendance also enjoyed the Indonesian flags and other materials provided by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York.
Descriptions from the Chinese Music Ensemble:
Luu Thuy – Kim Tien – Xuan Phong – Long Ho (Flowing Stream – Gold and Silver – Spring Breeze – Dragons & Tigers) is a medley comprised of four distinct melodies that was traditionally performed for the Royal Court in Hue, Vietnam. Each piece can be seen as a human trait characterized by nature: the strength of flowing water, wealth and prosperity represented by gold and silver currency, peace and beauty of the wind, and finally the bravery in the fight between the dragon and tiger.
The erhu (or Vietnamese đàn nhị) is similar to the Western violin, except it only has two strings and the bow is attached directly to the instrument. The most popular of the huqin family of traditional Chinese stringed instruments, it can be used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles and
ISF New Haven would like to thank David Heiser, Head of Education and Outreach, and Josue Irizarry, Events Coordinator, of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Indonesian Consulate General of New York for providing promotional materials.