Opening Ceremony features rare Double Dragon Dance
Festival kicks off with Eye-Dotting Ceremony to awaken the spirit of the dragons, also includes a Buddhist tribute to victims of the Aurora shootings
One of the highlights of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival every year is the Opening Ceremony, which kicks off the festival with this most traditional of rituals.
The Opening Ceremony starts at 10 am Saturday July 28 with the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by CDBF’s own Tarika Cefkin and Serevi Naqica. The ceremony that follows is a cultural spectacle, featuring Chinese Buddhist monks chanting and blessing the festival and all the competitors, then performing a beautiful, spiritual, traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony with invited dignitaries to awaken the spirit of the dragons within the race boats. A dynamic Dragon Dance closes the Opening Ceremony.
This year’s Opening Ceremony will begin on a somber note.
In response to the recent tragic shooting in an Aurora movie theater, the Opening Ceremony will feature a few ords from the Shifu, or head monk, of the Chung Tai Zen Study Group of Denver, and a haunting chanted tribute to the victims of the violence by the Buddhist monks, who will then lead invited dignitaries traditional Chinese Eye-Dotting Ceremony to awaken the spirit of the dragons at the festival.
This is not only our 12th year and our first full cycle of the Chinese Zodiac – this is also the Year of the Dragon, or the Water Dragon, to be exact. To acknowledge this auspicious sign, CDBF is proud to announce that this year’s Opening Ceremony held from 10am-noon on Sat. July 28 will feature a rare treat: Two 75-feet-long dragons performing an intricate, intertwined dance.
The Boulder-based Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Academy (SHMKF) has performed the Dragon Dance (and Lion Dances and kung fu demonstrations) every year at CDBF since the first year. SHMKF’s Shifu (Master) Howie Solow is one of the founders of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.
This year, SHMKF is presenting a very special performance, an intricate, intertwined Double Dragon Dance!
The academy purchased a new Dragon from Taiwan that arrived in July, and it will debut at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival during the Opening Ceremony. The new dragon will be choreographed in a rare U.S. performance that will also feature the school’s older dragon. This will be the final performance for the older Dragon, which will be retired after the festival.
The two dragons, operated by nine students each, will weave back and forth, twist and turn and intertwine in their intricate dance to thundering drums and percussion, led by colorful large banners waved and spun by other SHMKF students. In all more than 35 members of Solow’s athletic martial arts troupe will participate.
Don’t miss this unique, dynamic cultural spectacle at the 2012 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival’s Opening Ceremony – it will be an unforgettable celebration of the Year of the Dragon!
Below is a video of the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Academy opening the crates in which the new dragon was shipped from its manufacturer in Taiwan. Here’s a link to an article with video and photo gallery about the students of the Academy assembling the dragon just a few weeks ago.
The crowds simply love the sights and sounds of this inspirational portion of the festival. Please join us for this colorful start to the 12th annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival!