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Asian Allure blends culture, entertainment

Chris McGrady | Monday, November 21, 2005

Reflecting on the past, looking into the future but always living in the present. That was what Asian Allure 2005 set out to do, and that is exactly what was accomplished. The annual show, this year accurately titled “Reflections,” is showcased as a celebration of Asian culture ranging from the style of the bustling cities of Japan to the soothing hula dances from the wind-swept shores of Hawaii.

The performance was a visual and cultural feast, fully immersing the viewers in a stunning portrayal of Asian and Asian-American culture. There were also showings by the Vietnamese Student Association, the Filipino American Student Organization, the Chinese Culture Society, the Hawaii Club, the Indian Association of Notre Dame, the Pakistan Student Association, and several other groups and clubs. There were a series of “fashion shows” in which student-models showcased cultural outfits. These outfits ranged from traditional kimonos and masks to modern clothing such as business apparel and clothing inspired by today’s “hip-hop culture.”

Students Camille Gabriel and Angelo Gacad emceed the show and delighted the audience with humorous banter and a handful of well-placed jokes. Gabriel and Gacad controlled the audience with a casual yet commanding stage presence. The duo’s appearances were just enough to guide the audience through the show without detracting from the focus of the performances.

One of the fan favorites was the performance of a “Bollywood-style” dance. Bollywood is an Indian musical movie genre and is immensely popular in many parts of the world. Sophomore Sheena Plamootil was one of the lead dancers in this act and has been performing and dancing in this style since she was young.

“It is so fun performing on stage with everyone cheering you on. Showing people something they haven’t seen before is exciting,” Plamootil said.

The Bollywood performance, which was done under the Indian Association of Notre Dame as well as the Pakistan Student Association, was obviously carefully planned and was an immediate crowd favorite. The group practiced three times a week leading up to the show, and during the week immediately before the show met every night. The hard work paid off as the dance went off flawlessly.

Another fan favorite was the performance of “Matrix Ping-Pong” by the Asian American Association. In this piece, two ping-pong players acrobatically engaged in a match with the help of several stage crew members. The stage crew lifted the players, tilted the table, and controlled the ball (attached to a stick) to simulate a game which was designed to remind the crowd of the time-lapse sequences in “The Matrix” movie series. The result was an impressive display of precision and visual tricks that had the audience on their feet.

The show set out to ultimately showcase the proud Asian culture held by many of the members of the Notre Dame community and accomplished just that in the process.

The choice of “Reflections” as the theme of the show was ideal and the show fully reflected to the audience just what Asian and Asian-American culture is all about.