A Trip Through Asia: RHS Asian Festival

This year’s in-school Ridgewood High School Asian Festival performance will be held March 4th, 2016 and the benefit on the following night at 6:00 PM. All are welcome. Like previous years, students have prepared several traditional dances and skits from five Asian countries: Korea, Japan, China, Philippines, and India. The addition of a Cambodian skit this year, led by Cambodia club president Benjamin Feder, has put Asian Festival participants in high spirits. As the countdown to performance day continues, everyone is excited for what new content Asian Festival has in store.

There are 16 overall performances: Korean Kumdo sparring, Chinese traditional dance, Filipino modern dance, Korean Kumdo skit, Japanese Wadaiko drums, Indian modern dance, Korean modern dance, Chinese yoyo, Chinese Lion Dance, Korean TaeKwonDo, Japanese fishermen dance, Indian traditional dance, Korean skit, Cambodian skit, Filipino Tinikling, and Korean fan dance. Student leaders began planning in September while official practices began in December. For months, participants have been practicing two to three days a week in the Campus Center in order to put on a fun, but also culturally accurate performance for the student body and faculty to experience. Philippines country leader Thria Bernabe says, “It’s a commitment, really. A long-term commitment. You do more than have fun and eat good food at Asian Fest — you really get to immerse into and explore different Asian cultures, and I’m glad I got dragged into it my sophomore year.”

Although the in-school performance is free, benefit tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. Lunch tickets will also be sold the week of Asian Festival during lunchtime in front of the main office for $7 each. Lunch tickets allow students to try a variety of foods from each country that will be served by Ridgewood parents in the Campus Center on the day of Asian Festival. The proceeds from lunch tickets and the benefit concert will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian, non-governmental organization dedicated to delivering emergency aid to people around the world who are affected by conflict, disaster, or exclusion from health care.

In addition to cuisine, Asian Fest participants also prepare various kinds of artwork from each individual country, so look forward to seeing some beautiful Korean kites and Japanese paintings in the band hallway and inside the campus center!

Asian Festival first began in the 1980s by Mrs. Aslanides, a former RHS teacher. Asian Fest is created with the help of parents and faculty advisor Medha Kirtane. Ms. Kirtane has a passion for the program, saying “It’s one of the most exciting days in the school year because of the energy and the enthusiasm involved. The performers spend countless hours practicing to showcase our cultures and the positive energy between the performers and the audience is palpable and electric. Between the parents, the faculty and staff, and the students, there is a true harmony in our celebration of diversity.”

Michelle Kwon

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