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Asian Allure honors alumni in performance

Tori Roeck | Sunday, November 6, 2011

This year’s Asian Allure, called “Timeless,” transported audiences back in time to explore the history of the Asian student community at Notre Dame.

The Asian Allure performances, sponsored by the Asian American Association, took place Friday and Saturday in Washington Hall.

Junior Michael Mercurio, director of Asian Allure, said the show adhered to its “Timeless” theme by telling the stories of Notre Dame alumni through traditional dances and skits.

“We would not be the Asian community we are today if not for the timeless stories of all the students that came before us,” he said.

Mercurio said Asian Allure is an important event for the Asian student community because it unifies all students of Asian descent.

“It’s the one time of the year when all the Asian clubs get together to showcase our culture,” he said. “It’s the one time to really build community.”

To collect the “timeless” stories used in this year’s show, Mercurio said this summer nine students interviewed alumni from all over the world about their experiences as Asian students at Notre Dame.

“We told the alums [this year’s show] was a tribute to them, and they really found that touching,” Mercurio said.

For the weekend’s performances, alumni’s narratives were weaved into a plot similar to that of “The Hangover.” Students with fuzzy memories of what happened the night before find a time machine to travel back to the previous night, but they accidentally journey back to 1905 when the first Asian student enrolled at Notre Dame.

From there, the students keep traveling forward through time, watching the Asian student community grow on campus.

Within the show, each Asian student club sponsored a particular act. These individual acts either showcased traditional dance or music, or presented a more modern twist, Mercurio said.

“The Philippine American Student Organization has a traditional dance called tinikling where they have bamboo sticks and they clap them together, except they do it to hip hop dancing,” he said.

Sophomore Denver Lobo participated in the Indian Association of Notre Dame’s performance of the traditional bhangra dance.

“It’s a lot of jumping around, a lot of energy,” Lobo said. “It’s a very quick dance. There’s a lot of leg movement and hand movement in it.”

Mercurio said this year’s Asian Allure also included an exhibit on the history of Asian Americans that was on display in Washington Hall.

“It’s an educational thing,” he said. “We have quotes there, life advice and inspirational quotes from the alums.”

Lobo said being a part of Asian Allure allowed him to connect with other students of similar cultural backgrounds.

“I’ve gained a lot of friends from doing Asian Allure,” he said.

Mercurio said he received positive reactions about this year’s show, especially from alumni.

“I got more than a few people who said, ‘This was the best Asian Allure I’ve ever seen,'” he said. “Even alumni who have seen six or seven Asian Allures.”

The success of the show is due to all the hard work and time the students spent on the show for the past few months, Mercurio said.

“Everyone who was involved has a reason to be proud,” he said. “At times people think we’re not very visible on campus, but … we want to share with you. We love being a part of Notre Dame.”