Stage struck: CDBF’s Performing Arts showcases Asian talent
CDBF engages and educates audiences with exciting and colorful performances, diverse demonstrations and enlightening, educational exhibits!
The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival features three main attractions: The thrilling ancient sport of Dragon Boat Racing, the colorful fun and flavorful Marketplace and Taste of Asia Food Court, and our various Performing Arts areas. We feature over 100 performances on FIVE stages over the weekend! We also take our educational mission as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization very seriously, and try to educate our festival guests each year with new and interesting performances and cultural exhibits.
For more than a dozen years, we’ve introduced festival-goers to Asian and Asian American entertainers, experts, artists and community members who want to share the beauty of their culture and the depth of their traditions. The festival’s entertainment is like taking an annual trip to Asia without leaving Denver. We’ve also balanced this respect for traditional culture with an appreciation for more contemporary, Asian American culture.
Here are our performance stages:
Showcase stage offers both traditional and contemporary culture
From its beginning in 2001, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has strived to share the very best of the many diverse Asian communities in Colorado on our Main Stage. But the emphasis hasn’t just been on the traditional cultural performances that captures the centuries of traditions that have been handed down and taught from generation to generation. CDBF has also featured the best contemporary Asian American performances, because frankly, Asian Americans play folk, blues, rock, jazz and R&B like other American musicians.
From Christina Yeh’s traditional Chinese dance troupe (shown above) to Mudra Dance Studio’s kinetic modern Indian styles; from Denver Taiko’s thundering Japanese drums to Chinese American songwriter Dwight Mark’s rock and roll soul, we’ve introduced audiences to the full range of Asian and Asian American entertainment experience, and educated folks while they’ve had fun!
We’ve also started a Band Stage in our Coors Light Beer Garden, to showcase our AAPI musicians who are in bands ranging from folk and jazz to blues and rock — there’s even some Pilipino rock and roll!
GATEWAY TO ASIA EXPLORE ASIA STAGE AND MARTIAL ARTS STAGE
Explore Asia all weekend without leaving Denver
Enter the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival’s AARP Gateway to Asia for an interactive and entertaining look at diverse Asian Pacific cultural ceremonies and traditions.
A cultural education component of the festival, AARP Gateway to Asia features stages where you’ll find more intimate performances and cultural demonstrations than on the Main Performing Arts Stage. Each year we also focus on Asian countries so festival-goers can learn more about them.
The Martial Arts Stage has become a highlight of the AARP Gateway to Asia area, with its showcase of the best and most authentic martial arts schools in the area. Throughout the weekend, you’ll see exciting demonstrations of not just judo, karate, kung fu and taekwondo, but also aikido and tai chi!
Since 2007, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has included an exciting Cultural Unity stage, where we showcase Denver’s thriving Urban Arts community, from dancers and DJs to graffiti artists.
Not Asian, you say? Au contraire, Asians have taken to hip-hop like white on rice! If you watch the popular MTV series “America’s Best Dance Crew,” you’ll see a lot of talented Asian Americans strutting their stuff — and each year the champion group has been either included Asian American members or been most of all Asian American!
CDBF offers fun for all ages
Pomp, spirituality and ceremony mark the start of the festival
One of the most anticipated events of each year’s Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is our Opening Ceremony, which kicks off the weekend on Saturday morning.
It begins with a Team Parade that’s a fun and raucous way to introduce the competitors. Then follows opening remarks and a unique spiritual ceremony that features chanting Buddhist monks who perform an “Eye-Dotting Ceremony” with invited dignitaries, to awaken the spirit of the dragon boats and bless their racers for a great two days of competition.
The Welcome Ceremony concludes with a spectacular Dragon Dance featuring a 75-feet-long dragon operated by members of the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Academy of Boulder, which has been part of the festival since its first year. You won’t want to miss the colorful, exciting start to a weekend of Asian culture and thrilling athletic competition!