Members of the Virginia Tech community gathered in Haymarket Theater on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. for the Asian American Student Union’s (AASU) annual fall culture show.
Various Asian American organizations around campus participate in the show every year. In this year’s show, the Chinese Student Association (CSA), Korean American Student Association (KASA), Exodus, Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), Japanese Cultural Association (JCA), Sigma Phi Zeta and VT Shidae performed in the showcase. This year’s theme was Voices of Asia.
“I like being able to create a space and time for all of the organizations and respectable cultures to come together and showcase and support each other,” said senior accounting and information systems major Kenny Nguyen, treasurer of AASU and co-host of the event.
The CSA commenced the event with a performance that fused the fan dance and water dance. The second act the CSA performed was the Lion dance, a traditional dance in Chinese culture which symbolizes power, wisdom and superiority. For some performers, being able to perform their cultural dances holds a personal significance.
“Ever since I was a kid, I've seen Lion dance as something I look up to because it is something that embodies chinese culture,” said freshman biological sciences major Anabelle Lee, a member of CSA. “To finally be able to learn it, especially from upperclassmen who are decently good at it, is bridging the gap between the upperclassmen and lowerclassmen and also bridging the gap between my childhood and college.”
KASA followed the CSA performances with a Couple Fan dance, also known as Buchaechum.
“I would say other people get greater appreciation (when seeing the show),” said senior neuroscience and psychology major Mariam Ouattara, who performed with Sigma Phi Zeta and KASA at the event. “They might only know the surface level of other cultures and just to see different cultures coming together in unity should really spread awareness. Personally, I get more awareness taking a part of a culture I may not necessarily be a part of. It really does raise my awareness and makes me more informed of different cultures.”
Exodus, a K-pop dance group, performed four dance numbers to K-pop hits. Their performances mimic the dancing and fashion styling of a K-pop band.
During a brief fashion show, each participating organization had representatives who showcased fashion from its culture. For example, VSA had its representatives wear ao dai, a traditional Vietnamese dress, while one of the KASA representatives wore the traditional Korean dress, Hanbok.
Performances resumed after the fashion show with the VSA’s umbrella dance. People are able to show appreciation toward others and the Vietnamese culture through the umbrella dance. VSA Vice President, Alex Woo, a junior majoring in business information technology, stated in Vietnamese culture, through the umbrella dance, people are able to show appreciation towards others and their culture.
The next performance was by Sigma Phi Zeta who did the stroll, a Greek dance traditionally performed by cultural sororities and fraternities. Strolling is traditionally done to hip hop songs, but Sigma Phi Zeta incorporated pop songs and songs from Asian artists into their stroll.
Closing out the show was the Korean-orientated dance group Shidae, who performed three dances numbers to Korean songs as Shidae Officer and senior statistics major Jaeseuk Jeong, describe has had, “significant influence” throughout Korea and the United States.
“We usually announced the performers for them but this year we had people from their organizations coming up and to have a more personalized performances introductions,” said sophomore economics major Jessica Nguyen, who is president of AASU and host of the event. “I feel that the crowd was more involved this year than it has been in the past.”
The event included a raffle that was conducted throughout the show. Audience members had the chance to win prizes like a laptop case, an umbrella and the grand prize was a $100 gift card to Spicity, who sponsored the show this year.
“(The event) brings the Asian community together, and you start seeing how diverse the asian community is,” said Elaine Consolacion, vice president external of AASU and a junior majoring in civil engineering. “Yes, there were similar performances, but with our groups we find that they bring different things. There were a lot of fan dances, but they each had their own take on it, and I think that (they) really describe our culture well.”
The Asian organizations on campus plan to hold individual events on campus next semester.