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{November 21, 2006}   Cultural Festivals in Melbourne

The recent weekend has been a blast! the weather was great, i managed to capture lots of vibrant and quirky photos and sampled lip-smacking delicacies amidst great company. i spent most of saturday at brunswick street checking out johnston street fiesta 2006 with cw and xh. it is a hispanic festival featuring food stalls and spanish dances as the highlights.

after browsing the craft and food stalls in the hot sweltering sun, we retreated to circe’s restaurant (more like a cafe) for a cool drink and to wait out the earlier part of the afternoon in anticipation of ‘dancin’ in the street’. circe’s restaurant is the perfect place to watch the world go by. a huge sofa faces brunswick street – with no windows or walls between you and the passersby but still removed enough to make you feel that you’re watching the street while not obstructively being in the street. check out cw’s description of the interior.

watching the world walk by from circe’s

it was fun watching the dance instructors strutting their stuff on the stage while the enthusiastic throngs of people followed in suit. some were just grooving to the catchy latin american beats while others, rapt in concentration, donned an intense fixated look.

 

the polish festival that took place the following day at federation square was on a much smaller scale. although there were less food stalls, the quality of the traditional cuisine was nonetheless top notch. the dancing was spontaneous and less technical as compared to the latin american ones. the traditional polish dances were also more communal in nature (most do not require a pairing up of couples) and like a secret code, only the older polish harnessed the knowledge of the lyrics, rhythms and footwork.

that set me wondering about chinese dances, the only ones that comes to mind are the prancing courtesses under the emperor’s gaze. i’m even more doubtful about the pairing off of men and women in such dances.

i think that unless the reference is specifically to a minority ethnic group in china, most (han) chinese dances are not communal and spontaneously in nature, most are also meant to be appreciated passively from a distance. i don’t think anyone sways to the flipping and flapping of chinese fans do they? the lion dance is also not something that can be performed spontaneously without proper training. does communist demonstrations and synchronised movements count?

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[…] within the same happening weekend of cultural festivities in melbourne, i managed to walk a stroll along the yarra for the umpteenth time. but each time, i always come across something new, something strange, something blog/photo-worthy […]



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