Asian Pacific Islander Student Union
University of Washington Tacoma

A student organization at University of Washington Tacoma that promotes Asian and Pacific Islander culture by creating a supportive family atmosphere endearing to positive life and learning through involvement.

Bailadores de Bronce

Bailadores de Bronce promotes the beauty and richness of Mexican traditions through music and dance in the Pacific Northwest. We create a bridge of understanding among all people by sharing our culture, preserving our traditions and instilling pride in our youth.

Mexican traditions are a mix of native, European and African influences. The dance that we are sharing here are Concheros and Colima.

The Concheros originated after the Spanish Conquest years after the fall of the Aztec Empire in 1521. The missionaries prohibited indigenous musical instruments, in response Aztecs and mestizos started to modify stringed instrument with a shell of armadillo thus the name Concheros came to be. From ancient times the dance was formed for several circles of people. In the inner circle, there were the important people, who make the choreographic movements, which were successively repeated for the exteriors as a wave.

Colima’s dances are divided into the bajio and the coast regions, both with mariachi music but the style is different. Today Bailadores de Bronce will be performing dances from the bajio region also known as Central region, the mestizo dances are performed by women wearing a white muslin dress with red lace, while the male wears a traditional white muslin suit or a caporal suit with a white shirt. The women can also wear a dress of the same design but instead of white muslin the dress is made with printed fabric. Local Celebrations as festivities usually include the popular son, a song with a lively danceable beat, and the jarabe, a Mexican folk dance. The dances of this region are Camino real de colima, colima lindo, las comaltecas, el carretero. The guys dance the morismas and potorricos using knives or machetes while blindfolded.

If you would like to learn more about our group please visit us at

Cambodian Classical and Folk Dance of Northwest

A Brief History of Cambodian Classical and Folk Dance of Northwest

Cambodian Classical & Folk Dance of Northwest (CCFDN) was established in the early 1980s to preserve Khmer arts and culture for the next generation.  Exploring Cambodian arts and culture provides an opportunity for the younger members of our community to perform songs and dances wearing traditional costumes for audiences who are mostly unfamiliar with our culture.

CCFDN Mission

  • To teach Khmer classical and folk dances to our youth.
  • To showcase Khmer arts and culture to the community
  • To bridge culture barriers and to build relationships between the first and second generations.
  • To give Khmer youths a sense of acceptance and pride and a chance to create their own identity
  • To empower Khmer youths to feel that they belong, even when they are not living in Cambodia.

CCFDN Core Values

  • Equity
  • Identity
  • Education
  • To preserve and promote Khmer arts and culture

Dance Description

Robam Tep Apsara is the national pride of Cambodia.  Robam Tep Apsara is a royal ballet that was originally performed at the offering ceremonies and other palace celebrations during the Angkorian Era.  In 1940, Queen Sisowath Kossomak Nearirath Serey Vattana, King Sihanouk’s mother, was the inspiration behind the genesis of the Apsara Dance.  Each gesture symbolizes something meaningful, such as love or peace.  These dancers represented the heavenly dancers who keep happiness and prosperity for the people.

“​Celebration Overture” is written by Mr. Zhao Jiping in September 1989 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Day. The music composes a scene of festival celebration with warm and fast running sentences.

Chinese Arts and Music Association

Chinese Arts and Music AssociationFounded in May 1984, the Chinese Arts and Music Association (CAMA) is a non-profit organization whose goal is to disseminate the essence of Chinese culture in the United States. It was founded by a group of artists and musicians who originated from overseas in areas such as mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as those locally born in America.

Headed by renowned musician Warren Chang, members of CAMA have constantly contributed their talents and efforts to the cause of the association. The association has been continuously involved in performances, lectures, and promotional activities throughout the United States.

The Seattle Chinese Orchestra (SCO) is the only traditional Chinese Orchestra in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission is to advocate and promote traditional Chinese music to the Western world. SCO is currently lead by Music Director Mr. Warren Chang, and the conductor Mr. Roger Nelson.

The mission of the Ensemble is to introduce professional Chinese ethnic music to the audience and take them to the far eastern land of China to enjoy its ancient beauty and traditional customs through some of the most memorable music.


(Filipino-American Student Association at the University of Washington – Tacoma)

The two different dances the FASA sa UWT board have demonstrated in the video are known as Tinikling and Pandanggo sa Ilaw.

Tinikling is a traditional folk dance in the Philippines that involves bamboo sticks tapping on beat, while one or more dancers step over and between the poles. The name “Tinikling” is a reference to a bird local to the Philippines known as a “tikling”. Tinikling literally means “to perform “tikling-like”, as tikling birds move very quickly and gracefully. This is actually the national dance of the Philippines!

On the other hand, Pandanggo sa Ilaw is often known as the “dance of lights” or “candle dance”. Originating in Mindoro, it is another popular Phililppine folk dance that is most commonly known to involve balancing candles in glasses on the hands or head of dancers. The word pandanggo is from the Spanish dance “fandango”. The phrase “sa ilaw” is Tagalog for “in light”. This dance, as well as Tinikling, originated during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines.

Both of these folk dances are very important in Filipino culture. These dances are celebratory and ceremonial, and brings together our community. These dances represent two main traits of most Fillipinos: we are resilient and fun-loving. They are usually performed on special occasions such as school performances or traditional Filipino festivals.

FASA sa UWT decided to perform contemporary and traditional variations of these dances. These two dances are both commonly performed today, however many individuals have modernized these dances to present-day music while still preserving classic aspects. The pop song we used is called “By Chance” by JR Aquino, which is a very popular Filipino artist among the Filipino-American community. We are aiming to put a twist to the traditional dances while also relating it to today’s Filipino culture.

We hope you enjoy, and we are glad to be able to take up this opportunity!

Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club

Founded in 1967, Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club has been an unyielding preserver and promoter of traditional Chinese performing arts in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, and Olympia for the last fifty years. With both professional artists and amateur practitioners in its membership, the organization has put on full-fledged Chinese opera performances in Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, bi-annually to bring the beauty and grandeur of Chinese traditional theatre to Seattle and surrounding communities. At the same time, Hwa Sheng has also actively participated in cultural events and educational programs such as annual Tacoma Moon Festival in Tacoma, the annual Lunar New Year Celebration in the Bellevue Square, and Chinese culture curriculum at the Evergreen State College, Olympia. All these performances, big and small, were meant to reach out to audiences of all ages, to bring awareness and appreciation of Chinese arts and culture to the general public, and to continue to enhance and strengthen the organization itself through active participation in the public events.

For this year’s Moon Festival, Hwa Sheng is happy to participate with two performance pieces, both of which were highly popular with audiences when they were performed live in the past Tacoma Moon Festival. The first piece is a solo aria from the tradition of Beijing opera, titled “Xishi,” which depicts the sorrow of the character Xishi, a royal lady, as she reminisces her hometown in the deep palace garden. The performer is Shuang-Chiu Wang and performance was recorded during last year’s Tacoma Moon Festival in 9/21/2019.

The second piece is an episode of Kunqu style best known for its exquisite music and movements, “Wandering in the Garden,” which is a dance and singing duet between a mistress and her maid as they enjoy the beautiful scenery of the garden. The performers are Shuang-Chiu Wang as the mistress and Alice Ohlfs as the maid, and the performance was recorded in 2/20/2016 during the Lunar New Year Celebration in the Bellevue Square.

Kabuki Academy

The Kabuki Academy was founded by Mary Ohno when she came to the United States from Tokyo Japan to share her cultural heritage with the world. She has dedicated her life to preserving and passing on the traditional Japanese performing arts to people who appreciate them and has been a cultural ambassador for many years.

Ohno Sensei and her students have performed at many different cultural performances across Washington and surrounding states to help people better understand Japanese culture. Ohno Sensei not only teaches Japanese students, but many students from different backgrounds.

Two of her dance students Akina Dennison and Memi Yamashita will be performing traditional Nihonbuyo dance for you in the first video. Akina has been dancing for Ohno Sensei for 10 years and deeply respects and loves Japanese dance and culture. Memi Yamashita wants to learn more about her traditional culture so she decided to join Kabuki Academy to be a part of her cultural heritage.

They will dance two very different dances which are described by Ohno Sensei before each dance and also in the text box below the video. Sensei’s students will also be performing traditional shamisen music for you today. Kokaji is about a sword smith forging a beautiful sword and you can hear his work in the piece. Sensei’s students from around the world will be performing this number and they hope you enjoy it!

Kathak: Stories in Motion

Kathak: Stories in Motion is the story of Ameera Nimjee, a musician and dancer, who teaches ethnomusicology at the University of Puget Sound. She has trained in Kathak since the age of 17.

Derived from the word ‘katha,’ which means ‘story,’ Kathak is a centuries old classical dance form that is based in storytelling from Hindu mythology and the Islamic Mughal courts of India.

Lanuola & Tautua Performing Arts

​Lanuola was founded on the pure love and passion for our beautiful culture and heritage, in hopes to preserve that knowledge and pass it on to the next generation. The mission of Lanuola Foundation is to develop and promote appreciation and knowledge of traditional and cultural values of Samoan and Pacific Island dance, cultural practices, and music among the general public and community through performances, participatory events, and concerts. This allows our youth and community members to view life from a much broader perspective, ultimately building healthy communities and molding them to be productive and contributing citizens of society.

These traditional dances are from the Island of Samoa. You can learn the art of Siva Samoa through Lanuola Samoan Performing Arts Academy. All information about classes can be found at

Mak Fai Kung Fu Dragon and Lion Dance Association

Mak Fai Kung Fu Dragon and Lion Dance Association is Seattle’s premier lion dance troupe. It was established in 1974 by Grandmaster Mak Fai. The troupe specializes in performing the lion dance as well as offering martial arts lessons in their school in Seattle’s Chinatown. They aim to enrich and promote lion dancing in the Greater Seattle area and keep the tradition alive by younger generations in the community.

Moon Princess of the 2020 Tacoma Moon Festival!

This year, although we do not have the kids lantern parade led by the Tacoma Moon Princess to conclude the festival, we want to introduce Miss Puget Sound 2020 to serve as our virtual princess of the festival!

The Miss Washington Scholarship Organization is the official state preliminary to Miss America, whose mission is to prepare great women for the world and to prepare the world for great women. Titleholders spend a year of service advocating for their own social impact initiative and developing themselves personally and professionally alongside their fellow contestants. As Miss Puget Sound 2020 and a first-generation Chinese-American woman, I promote the character virtue of empathy to create long-lasting systemic change in hearts and minds.

Morning Star Korean Cultural Center

Morning Star Cultural Center was founded in 1985 with the purpose of teaching Korean dance, music, and heritage to those interested in sharing the Korean culture. Morning Star features some of the best Korean cultural dance and music in the Pacific Northwest. Today with the combination of its art preschool, library, dance and music classes, Morning Star serves over 1,000 members of all ages.

Morning Star Cultural Center is committed to enriching lives through artistic expression, educational opportunities, and cultural appreciation. We proudly serve a global community to promote awareness and encourage positive cultural exchange.

Sabor Flamenco

“Sabor Flamenco” is a Tacoma based performing dance group under the artistic direction of dancer/choreographer and instructor Marisela Fleites. “Sabor Flamenco” brings to the Puget Sound community the ancestral art of Flamenco, an art rooted in the traditions of the Gypsies of Andalucía, Spain, enriched over the centuries by the Afro-Caribbean, South American, Moorish, Jewish and Castilian influences.

Percussion: Tony Gómez  |  Guitar: Alejandro Fleites
Clarinet: Ashley Cook |  Güiro and Claves: Melanie Fleites
Song: “La negra Tomasa,” Bilongo, composed by Guillermo Rodríguez Fiffe (Cuban)
Soloist Dancer: Marisela Fleites
Company: Sabor Flamenco dancers

The South Sound Choir

Music is an essential and powerful part of the history of the African diaspora in the United States, the Caribbean and Central and South America, functioning, amid the horrors of centuries of enslavement and oppression, as personal expression, as resistance and rebellion, as social commentary, as entertainment and as spiritual sustenance. It is not an exaggeration to say that the music of the African American community has created musical traditions that now largely dominate the world’s global popular music. And the most powerful musical institution in the African American community was the Black church that used singing as a way to unite the congregation with each other and with the divine.

The South Sound Choir was organized by Tacoma Choir Directors Victoria Woodards and Tracie Davis. It was a community choir that came together initially to provide music at the City of Tacoma’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. After being invited to other local events the choir decided to formally organize and call themselves “The South Sound Choir”. The choir is made up of local community singers who love gospel music.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Birthday Celebration, featuring the South Sound MLK Mass Choir – Courtesy: TV Tacoma

Tacoma Fuji Taiko

Tacoma Fuji Taiko began in 2009 as a way of contributing and sharing with the Tacoma Buddhist Temple and the community, the art of Taiko. All members are volunteers, and most are affiliated with the Temple, but this is not a requirement to play. Our group performs annually in the Temple Bon Odori (Japanese Street Dance), New Year’s party as well as communitee events throughout the South Sound region.

We will perform 4 songs for the 2020 Virtual Moon Festival that were originally created for our Temple’s Virtual Bon Odori Festival in August. Please enjoy our productions of: Pulsate, Matsuri, Hachijo and Omiyage.

Performed Songs History
“Pulsate” is a piece written for the Minidoka Interment Camp Pilgrimage Fundraiser and created by Gary Tsujimoto and Nancy Ozaki from Oneworld Taiko and Garrett Nakawatase from Inochi Taiko. We are honored to join the Regional Taiko Group of Seattle to perform this piece.

“Matsuri” as we play it today is Taiko most at home at festivals. Matsuri literally means festival. The Matsuri percussion phrase familiar in North America though shows-up in Japanese dance, at Obon, and as part of Shinto festival music. In Japan, every village has its own “Matsuri.”

“Hachijo” is a piece written by the group Ondekoza, one of the premier taiko groups in Japan. It draws inspiration from the tale of Ukita Hideie, a samurai who, after being exiled to the island of Hachijo-jima, exchanged his swords for bachi (drum sticks.)

“Omiyage” means “gift.” This song was created as a gift to the whole Taiko community by Shoji Kameda, Bryan Yamami and Yuta Kato of Taikoproject. Taikoproject is a you and energetic North American Taiko group in Southern California. We thank them for their generosity and support.

YMCA Dance Company – Dancing in Vietnam

Dancing in Vietnam: this short video highlights the Y Dance Company trip to Vietnam. YMCA Cultural Arts trips provide dancers with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the history, heritage and culture of countries around the world; gaining a greater appreciation of each destination through cultural dance classes, exploration, relationship building, performance exchanges, and much more. Trips are designed to increase cultural awareness and competencies. Past destinations have included Vietnam, China, Thailand, New York City and London, England.