Asian culture takes over Jorgensen
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 23:02
Showcasing talents from cultures all over Asia, Jorgensen hosted UConn’s annual Asian Nite on Saturday, where students’ performances included everything from dances to tae kwon do stunts.
The floor of the auditorium was packed with families and friends of all the performers, who sat up in the balcony. Amidst cheering and chanting, the excitement and energy of the event did not fade throughout the nearly three-hour-long show.
Masters-of-ceremony Cindy Chiem, Latoya Miller, Chris Wang and Jordan Kennedy hosted the show and thanked attendees for coming out to show support to the performers. They introduced the first act, UConn Taiko, a group who performed traditional Japanese drumming. Following the drummers were the members of the Nepalese Student Association, who incorporated modern dances and dresses with traditional ones to tell the story of a man going home to see his wife in their performance.
The Vietnamese Student Association brought humor to the crowd during their skit where Vietnamese parents didn’t approve of their daughter dating a white boy; at the end of the skit, he gained their approval and permission by embracing Vietnamese culture. Donned in glittery purple tops and gray parachute pants, UConn Surya took the stage with their fusion of Bollywood and American dances and songs, using intricate formations and transitions for added aesthetics.
Afterwards, Lily Cheung amazed the audience with her performance of the song “Fighting the Typhoon” on the zither, a 21-stringed horizontal instrument. She played up and down scales to emulate the sounds of a flowing river, telling the story of a small village that gathered together to brace for a typhoon. Up next was ThundeRaas, a dance team that incorporates the style of Indian dance known as Raas into their routines. They stormed the stage with energy in their movements and used glowing sticks for part of their routine.
In between each performance, the judges entertained the crowd with a number of different skits, for instance holding a dance off between Chiem and Wang to songs by the Spice Girls, Usher and Justin Bieber. They encouraged audience participation and made the show an interactive experience.
Illumin8 opened their routine with slow moves to “The Morning” by the Weeknd, following into other hip hop songs by artists like New Boyz to showcase their dancing abilities. They were followed by the Senior Project – a group of seniors that got together to sing some hit songs including “Thrift Shop” and “We Are Young.”
After a brief intermission in which families and classmates congratulated participants on their performances, Husky Hungama sang a number of Hindi songs, mixing beats from American songs like “Stand By Me.” Poet Kevin Hernandez, who opened for Lupe Fiasco in 2008 on the same stage, showed off his talents with the spoken word. The members of UConn Tae Kwon Do broke boards and performed stunts that including fighting scene that featured a male and female fighter. After, dancer Shreena Desai performed a traditional Indian dance. Based off the Cinderella story about a girl going to the ball, the Vietnamese Student Association performed a variety of dances including “Gangnam Style.”
Carnatic Beats took the stage with their performance of Indian raga, and after them were the members of the Filipino Student Association. Dancing on benches and performing stunts like blindfolding dancers, they incorporated the use of candles and traditional Filipino dresses in their routine. Last but not least, Husky Bhangra took the stage with their colorful outfits and fast movements.
“I liked how diverse it was and I also liked the stunts that the Filipino Student Association did in their dance with the tables,” said Fatima Dirir, a fourth semester psychology major. “This was a really great experience as my first show at the Jorgensen.”