Amidst the silence covering an audience at the National Gallery of Canada, the pounding sound of drums broke out. Moving from the left side of the seats, a colourful tiger head manned by two men slowly danced its way up to the stage.
It jumped from left to right, right to left, back and forth. Its legs seemed uncontrollable.
After five minutes of powerful movements, the tiger raised its body up on two feet, cheering the crowd.
The dance was the opening performance of the Spring Gala, which was organized by the Vietnamese International Student Association on Feb. 20.
The event was designed to bring the feeling of being at home to all the Vietnamese students living in Ottawa area.
“We really want to bring the image and the familiar things from our home country to this place,” said Tung Thanh Pham, president of the VISA, to more than 300 attendees.
More than 60 Vietnamese students participated in the show, many of them from Algonquin.
The event took the theme of the Lunar New Year celebration, which is considered the most important holiday in Vietnamese culture. It is before or during this time that many Vietnamese students take a trip back to Vietnam to spend time with their families.
Those who are unable to go back usually experience a deep feeling of nostalgia. Thus the Spring Gala provides a morale boost to students, so they can continue their studying whole-heartedly.
The preparation began many weeks before the event and most of the cost is covered by business owners within the Vietnamese community and by the students themselves.
“We had to sacrifice our own free time, especially the weekends, to practice for this performance,” said Trang Tran, an ESL student at Algonquin, after she finished her fan dancing.
This year is the second year the Spring Gala has been held. Last year the event was held at the college. Following the success of the show, Pham hopes for another Spring Gala next year, though he is not entirely certain about the possibility of it.