2015 A Passage to China
Taking a Stand for Peace and Mutual Understanding
In February, as our preparations intensified for our 8th Passage at the MOA, the terrorist group Al Shabaab issued a video calling for attacks on U.S. shopping malls, including MOA. We did not take this threat lightly, and neither did the MOA. We met with Mall officials, and they briefed us on FBI and Homeland Security intelligence assessment that showed no credible specific threat to the Mall. They also showed us their own enhanced (and mostly behind the scenes) security and heavy surveillance efforts; and promised extra security measures (some visible and some invisible) in both the Rotunda and Sears Court during our event.
With this assurance and support from the MOA, we decided to go forward with Passage, while giving all participating organizations and volunteers the option to withdraw. We were very grateful to the many organizations and volunteers who chose to remain with us as we made a stand for peace and understanding, as proclaimed in our Gates of Mutual Understanding and Mutual Courtesy.
Under the vigilant eye of the Mall’s extra security personnel David Fong’s Lion Dance Team proclaimed the opening of Passage at 11 AM on March 14. There is really nothing that better heralds fun and excitement than a lion dance! Audiences lined up along the banisters on every floor of the Rotunda and every head on the escalators was turned towards the lion dancers as they made their way around all the tables. As soon as the dance was over, eager attendees, children and adults alike, streamed towards the tables where organizations and volunteers stood ready to engage them in activities such as Chinese papercuts, Chinese chess and Go, tangrams, speaking Mandarin, learning to use chopsticks or make dumplings or writing with a brush. Crafts projects such as making a porcelain medallion necklace, or a print, or a terra cotta warrior head on a stick remained popular. Fortune telling was always sought after, particularly since this year a new generation of young and yet so sincere soothsayers came forward from among our volunteers!
The central ‘palazzo’, created by the semi-circular arrangement of tables in the Rotunda, became the gathering spot for old friends while new acquaintances drew on their positive energies to build connectedness. All this took place under the gaze of our six-foot-tall Terra cotta warrior who stood sentry on the west end. He also became the favorite backdrop for visitors as they tried on different historical fashions styles from the last dynasties. Many cell phones were held up high to record the glamorous moment. Quzheng music, provided by Lauren Moy nearby, completed the experience of old world elegance.
Over in Sears Court smooth operation was the order of the day. Streamlined logistical arrangement for performers eliminated the crowdedness around the stage area. Improved communications between performers and sound technicians led to a much smoother performance environment. As always, our variety of performers, ranging from Chinese classical music (guzheng, pipa, singing) to martial arts, Chinese dance and qigong, offered the audience a feast for both the eye and ear.
In addition to the lion dances, technological improvements and presentations on the jumbotron in the Rotunda attracted many more onlookers on the upper levels. Once again, this year’s Passage became another favorite memory in our expanding story book.
The Passage Committee is grateful to the MOA for delivering on its promise of extra security. It enabled us and our participating organizations and volunteers to go forward with our goal of promoting mutual understanding and courtesy among all Minnesotans.
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CAAM Chinese Dance Theater
CAAM Chinese Language School
Changqing Senior Chorus
Chinese Acupincture & Herb Center
Chinese American Association of Minnesota
Chinese Musical Gallery
CIAC Travel Inc.
Concordia Language Villages
David Fong’s Lion Dance Team
Dragon Gate School of TAi Chi Chuan
Families with Children from Asia
Golden Leopard Martial Arts Center
Green Dragon Kung Fu
Ha Family Entertainment and Family Troupe
Hongde Lion Dance Association
Hopkins Xin Xing Academy
Hui’s Lucky Dragon Dance
Hunan Folk Association
Legacy Performance Arts
Li Lei Music Studio
Little Swan Dance Studio
Mandarin Links LLC
Minneapolis Plum Blossom Martial Arts Center
Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society
Minnesota Chinese Dance Theater
Minnesota Chinese Opera
Minnesota Minhua Central School
Minnetonka Public School
Muzi Youth Chorus
Pak Mei Athletic Association
Spring Forest Qigong
Ting James Kong Studio
Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center
Twin Cities Go Club
U of MN China Center
U of MN Confucius Institute
US-China People’s Friendship Association MN Chapter
Xu Qian Academy
Yang Ye Tai Chi
Yu Cai Chinese Language School
David Fong Jr.
Joe & Marlene Hui