Bathed in light across an expansive stage, proud Chinese-Americans will tell the story of their ancient and modern heritage through song and dance. They usher in the Year of the Dragon, lóng nián, a zodiac symbol representing bold determination and unwillingness for failure.

     California's Conejo Valley has a prominent Chinese community that continues to grow. Every year the youth and seniors come together in a show organized by the Conejo Chinese Cultural Association celebrating this important event at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

     While on stage the performance will be a confidently practiced routine, the backstage reveals candid and charming vulnerability. The elders exude a gentle and wise energy while the children radiate nervous excitement, as much as they try to conceal it. Chinese mothers meticulously preen their young as anxious grins flash across their faces. Sterile hallways become flooded with colorful costumes and painted faces. The air is filled with a symphony of voices and a stirring sense of pride and anticipation.

     The waiting game begins...