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Jorgensen transports students to Asia

By Zach Lederman
On February 16, 2014

  • Asian Night 2014, hosted by the Asian American Cultural Center at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, allowed students to showcase their dancing, musical and cultural skills. Ashley Trihn

Jorgensen Center served as a teleportation machine to Asia last Saturday night when it hosted Asian Nite 2014, UConn's annual celebration of Asian culture. The show was presented by the Asian American Cultural Center (AsACC) and the Pan-Asian Council (PAC), and served as an opportunity for students to come and show off their talents in various performances, which included singing, dancing, spoken word and acting, all in a setting that represents both modern and traditional Asian culture.
The show began with an introduction from Jack Nguyen, AsACC's graduate assistant, who introduced the five emcees of the night with a short video-introduction: Sumia Hussain, Priya Kumar, Steven Lean, Yuanwen Liang and Monica Tedla. Following the film and a few jokes from the emcees, the festivities began.
First up was UConn Surya, the South Asian student dance team, that entertained the audience with their blend of both traditional and modern music and dance. Of course, they were only the first dance group of the night, and would be followed soon after by a Lao traditional piece that combined both music and step.
The T-Huskies of UConn's Tae-Kwon-Do club were up next, showing off their impressive skills in a mixture of mock sparring and dancing, as they broke wooden boards with strong kicks and wielded sets of light stick nunchaku that emphasized the movements of their bearers.
Breaking up the series of dance, however, was Abby Chen with her stylistic spoken word poetry, where she spoke at length of the troubles of conforming to a set identity. Following in her footsteps, Husky Hungama, UConn's South Asian acapella group sang a variety of traditional Hindi music alongside a modern mix of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream."
UConn Breakdancing was up next. They showed off their breaking moves to some classic tunes including Michael Jackson's "Beat It," and "How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy.
After intermission, UConn Taiko, UConn's traditional Japanese drumming group, played. Perhaps it's a little biased, but being a percussionist myself, I couldn't help but love hearing them play.
The remainder of the performances consisted mainly of music and dance by outrageously talented groups including the Illumin8 dance crew and UC Invasion, though Kappa Phi Lambda and Pi Delta Psi and the Vietnamese Student Association shook things up with small vignettes.
The two show-stopping performances of the night were almost certainly Lillian Chung, a zither player, who played a traditional Chinese piece about the coming of spring, and Husky Banghra, UConn's Punjabi dance team, who performed the show's finale to outrageous applause.
Many were worried about the show's turnout due to the weather, but according to Sumia Hussain, one of the show's emcees, the turnout was actually quite good.
"The snow did keep a lot of people from off campus from coming, such as my family members," Hussain said. "But I think the turnout was great overall, considering HuskyThon was on the same night."
Despite the cold temperatures outside, however, feelings were warm inside with the audience.
"I absolutely loved it!" Avery Desrosier, a sixth semester Allied Health major said. "Every performance was great, and the emcees made everything even better!"
Despite the small size of the audience, every performance was met with tremendous applause.
Students weren't the only ones who enjoyed themselves. Parents of performers and alumni alike came to see the various talented demonstrations.
"It was an impressive array of talent across many genres," Linda Valentine, a 1981 UConn graduate, said. "It was an absolute display of hard work on the part of students, staff and volunteers."
"I think that the night went pretty well," Hussain said. "We had amazing performers and a ton of talent to celebrate at AsACC!"
According to Hussain, who is also a member of the Pan Asian Council, they are already beginning preparations for next year's celebrations, and anyone who wants to get involved can audition beginning in the fall semester.

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