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Asian Allure

Claire Stephens | Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lions, pandas and Pokémon, oh my! This Friday and Saturday get a taste of Asian culture with the annual Asian Allure show.

Asian Allure is the biggest Asian cultural event of the year at Notre Dame, featuring modern and traditional performances from the various Asian cultural clubs on campus, Pfresh and members of the Asian and Asian American communities. It is presented by the Asian American Association and co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific Alumni, the International Student Services and Activities and the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture.

This year’s theme is “Timeless” and focuses on how far the Asian community at Notre Dame has come. Junior Michael Mercurio spearheaded an oral history project on Asians and Asian Americans at Notre Dame this past summer with a team of student volunteers who interviewed ND alumni all across the globe. This year’s skits were inspired by their stories.

New to the program this year is an exhibit on the history of Asians and Asian Americans at Notre Dame, which will be open for viewing before and after the show at Washington Hall. 

Each of the clubs participating will contribute diverse performances from countries all over Asia and each has a unique vision for this year’s acts.

The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) will perform both a traditional dance and a Lion dance. Junior choreographer Theresa Lai said the traditional dance showcases the Vietnamese culture and heritage through both visual props and song. 

“The song lyrics are about the timeless love of a man and woman who are from North and South Vietnam, wishing their countries were united,” Lai said.

The Lion Dance is an important part of Vietnamese celebrations, said junior Eric Diep, another choreographer. 

“We chose it because people just love to see it. It relates the show’s theme because the Lion Dance never gets old. It’s good every year,” Diep said. 

A Pokémon skit represents the spirit of Japan Club. Club members said Pokémon serves as one of the most timeless animations/games for our generation because it focuses on the timeless themes of fun and friendship. 

K-Pop, a division of the Korean Student Association, has always been about showcasing modernity within Korean culture. K-Pop choreographers senior Julia Ro and junior Carrie Ko said Korean pop music fuses timeless Korean style with newer Western flair and always promises fun and a great performance.

Asians, Asian Americas and many other cultures are represented in hip-hop group Project Fresh. Their set, called “Hip Hop Incorporated,” is a dance set in a fictional “hip-hop tower.” The set includes dances from different styles and eras, including classical, jazz and funk. Two of the choreographers, seniors Kevin Park and Amanda Costanzo, envision their piece as a show of timeless quality and evolution of expression through dance. 

The Chinese Culture Society (CCS) will call their piece Panda-monium, sophomore Michael Dai said.

“Our dance shows off the delicate charm of the fan paired with the unwavering defiance of the flag,” Dai said. “We hope to display the beauty of an ancient and timeless Chinese tradition and the wonders of the wrist.” 

The Indian Association of Notre Dame’s dance will exhibit three different timeless dances from three areas of India — Garba from Gujarat, Bhangra from Punjab and Bollywood from modern Bollywood films. The country of India consists of 28 different states and 30 official languages. The common element tying each subculture together is the tradition of celebration and love for the Motherland. 

This year’s fashion show will have two parts — modern and traditional. Flourish Boutique will supply all the modern clothes and some of the traditional clothes. The traditional portion is about appreciating the traditional style of all Asian cultures as well as the styles of their modern day counterparts. This segment of the show particularly focuses on the theme of Timelessness, said senior Adrianne Tsen. 

The Filipino American Student Organization is performing Modern Tinikling, a contemporary take on the traditional folk dance, sophomore Chris Ayala said.

“We chose this dance because it is one of the most timeless Filipino dances. Even with contemporary changes, the same traditional cultural richness is present,” Ayala said. 

Asian Allure will be in Washington Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4 and at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. Tickets are on sale in advance for $7 at the LaFortune Ticket Office and $10 at the door.