Asian Allure: Tradition and Novelty Combine
Brandy Cerne | Monday, November 16, 2009
Thanks to Asian Allure, students at Notre Dame were transported halfway around the world on Friday and Saturday nights. The Asian American Association performed its annual cultural show celebrating dances, music, and fashion of Asia. This show is their chance to spread a little bit of their culture to other students who either do not see enough of it on campus or do not know what Bhangra or Pukol are.
Asian Allure used the theme of “Asian Allure Live” to tie the show together. Between the acts, the cast acted out variations of famous “Saturday Night Live” skits, such as “the Cheerleaders” and “Night at the Roxbury.” Some of these went over better than others with the audience, such as “Coconuts,” a deviation from the popular “Cowbell” skit with Christopher Walken. While the skits were amusing, they were not the main focus of the show and were not necessary. Most of them only had a loose connection to the following performance.
Many of the acts were energetic and fun for the audience. The show started out with one of the best performances, Modern Tinikling, a Filipino dance. Performers had to be light on their feet, as they jumped in and out of long bamboo sticks that were being hit on the ground and against each other to the beat of the music. The dance is indigenous, but in Asian Allure, today’s popular music was used.
The Vietnamese Lion Dance was another crowd pleaser. Two students were in a traditional, ornate, lion costume and they danced to a mix of songs with widely known steps, such as “Soulja Boy” and “Cupid Shuffle.”
Throughout the show, the dances that used the juxtaposition of traditional dances with modern and familiar music were the most enjoyable. These dances represented Asia’s rich history and tradition, which Asian students at Notre Dame chose to balance with their position as youth in a modern world.
Some dances were strictly traditional, such as the Con Rong Chau Tien Vietnamese dance using fans and flags. Conversely, the KPOP act was performed by the Korean Student Association in stylish and provocative outfits. They danced to Korean pop music, instead of a historical dance. It was interesting to see a thoroughly modern representation of Korean culture.
The Japan Club and the Chinese Cultural Society performed intense acts: Soran Bushi and Students of Shao-Lin, respectively. Students of Shao-Lin used fans and martial arts in a way that was comedic and playful, yet impressive.
The Belly Dancing performance by the Arabic Cultural Club was traditional. However, it will always have a timeless appeal, so it translated well to today’s audience. The Bollywood dance also added fun to the night, capitalizing on the popularity of “Slumdog Millionaire” by using the song “Jai Ho.”
Apart from the dances, there were several vocal performances. senior Simon Chun gave a notable performance of “Hallelujah,” and senior Jeanna Yoon sang a sweet and laidback version of “Fallin’ For You” with graduate studentJoe Hagmann on guitar. Senior Greg Abbracciamento had some difficulties when his mike did not work during his first performance, but his impressive piano skills were still on display. Thanks to the seemingly endless cheers from his fan club in the audience, he was able to come back out to perform “When You Were Young” by the Killers at the end of the show.
Asian Allure does not feature flawlessly performed, professional dances, but this is part of its appeal. It is important to see how our friends and classmates present their cultures, which is such a large part of who they are and where they come from. Overall, Asian Allure was a fun and culturally rich night.