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Asian American Heritage Festival Returns to Valhalla

On June 2, OCA Westchester Hudson Valley will present its annual Asian American Heritage Festival at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. The daylong festival aims to educate audiences about artistic customs of the Asian culture, including traditional dance and song, activities and foods. Professional artists will share the stage with children’s dancing troupes dressed in traditional garb. A performance of Bian Lian, or face-changing, will demonstrate an ancient practice associated with the Chinese opera. During Bian Lian, a performer changes their painted masks so seamlessly that it is undetectable by the viewer. Martial arts will also be showcased, particularly a lion dance, a practice that is believed to bring about good fortune, during which a larger-than-life lion’s costume, operated by more than one dancer, mimics the animal’s intricate movements. Additional children’s activities teach crafts and trades of the Asian culture, such as calligraphy, Chinese paper cutting and origami. Vendors display Asian-inspired handmade goods, face painting and Asian foods. For more info, visit oca-whv.org.

Lion dancers (photo courtesy of OCA Westchester and Hudson Valley)

A version of this article first appeared in the June issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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