Spring Fest 2024 energetically ushers in the new year

Boasting a lineup of 6 different performing art groups, Spring Fest 2024 was a cultural and entertaining showcase of combined traditional and contemporary art.


On Februrary 24 and 25, Spring Fest 2024 was held at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC). This was a celebration of Chinese New Year, a cultural and arts showcase featuring six performing art groups, each specialising in a different type of performing art. The lineup was very diverse, with disciplines such as Cantonese opera, diabolo, Chinese orchestra, contemporary dance, percussion, and Lion Dance all represented.

Through Spring Fest 2024, the rich tapestry of Chinese performance culture was showcased along with modern twists creatively applied by the talented performers. On the 25th, which was when this writer attended, Dua Space, FrhythmS Percussion, and ZiXuanGong ShiYuan Lion and Dragon Dance Association performed.

FrhythmS performed first. There were 7 drummers assembled with their tanggu (traditional Chinese drums), beating out traditional Chinese New Year songs. It was not simply a music performance, but also a showcase of motion as the drummers gesture and pose dramatically, constantly moving between the drums in a choreographed routine, their actions punctuated by the beat of the drums.

Dua Space performed next. The first full-time professional dance troupe in Malaysia, they combine aspects of different art forms in their dances, fusing contemporary styles with styles from Chinese and other ethnic groups. Spring Language was the first piece they performed, a bright and optimistic piece featuring bright costumes, lion dance masks and embroidered balls.

FrhythmS performing on the Hang drums

FrhythmS returned to the stage afterwards, playing a melodious piece on the Hang drums. Made of steel and shaped like a convex lens, music is produced when the performer strikes different parts on the drums. The sound produced is light and almost ethereal, a stark contrast from the booming tanggu drums from the first performance. Dua Space then finished their set with There is a way, a piece about the perseverance of the troupe and other arts practitioners throughout the pandemic. Performed to The HU’s energetic Wolf Totem, the dance was energetic and kinetic, conveying the strength to face and overcome adversity.

Dua Space performing There is a way

Closing out Spring Fest 2024 was ZiXuanGong ShiYuan Lion and Dragon Dance Association performing The Big-Headed Buddha. This was a slapstick performance that shows the titular Big-headed Buddha’s misadventures as he bumbles around with a jar of wine. The performer under the Buddha’s mask skillfully used his body language to portray his character’s personality. Just as skilled were the performers behind the Lion. This writer has seen many Lion dances throughout the years, but the performers’ ability to mimic the mannerisms of real animals always astonishes, from the Lion’s curious pawing at the wine jar to its energetic frolicking. As a modern touch, the Lion had LED lights installed in its eyes and forehead.

ZiXuanGong ShiYuan Lion and Dragon Dance Association performing The Big-Headed Buddha

Overall, the variety of the performances at Spring Fest 2024 leaves this writer hopeful for more showcases of Chinese traditional arts in the future, incorporating modern touches to stand out in this current age.

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