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A “Fusion” of cultures

Observer Scene | Monday, November 22, 2004

Roots and wings seemed to be persistent themes throughout Saturday night’s Asian Allure. After last year’s stint off campus, this year’s performance came back to its original venue at Washington Hall, but took off with a new theme, “Fusion,” featuring a whole new blend of traditional and contemporary fashion, dance and culture.

As in the past, the organizers and performers did not fail to pack the house. Crowd-pleasing featured guests at Asian Allure included TroopND, First Class Steppers and the brand new addition this year, Project Fresh. The emcee Liz Tran best described the “Fusion” performances as “a little bit of old school, a little bit of new school, a lot of crazy school.”

Asian Allure model organizers combed campus for versatile clotheshorses to show off traditional, formal and casual fashion. “Old school” couture, belonging to the clubs and the models’ own closets, included authentic traditional pieces ranging from India, Korea, Japan, Hawaii and the Philippines. Formal and street clothes were also picked out by the models.

The Vietnamese Student Association featured a new lineup this year with the flirtatious Non-La Bamboo Hat Dance and the humorous New Year Mua Las Dragon Dance. The Filipino American Student Organization performed its perennial crowd-pleaser, Tinikling, with the traditional costumes and steps, as well as a modern version with a hot hip-hop beat and street clothes. The brave men in loincloths also performed the solemn warrior dance, Uya-Uy. The Hawaiian Club performed a graceful hula dance. The Korean Student Association incorporated a rich Korean history with a beautiful fan-dance put on by the women, with a talented contemporary culture as shown by K-Pop’s boy-band-worthy moves.

The Japan Club presented a seamless blend of traditional and modern culture with its Fisherman’s Dance Plus, with everything from kimonos to cheerleaders. The Indian Association once again put on a highly energized, colorful and well-received dance, culminating in an exciting gymnastic feat.

“Since most of us have never been to all these places in Asia, these clubs bring the exotic diversity right here to South Bend,” sophomore Indian dancer Himanshu Kothari said. “If the students in the audience were unsure before about the value of diversity on campus, this entertaining show will convince them.”

Some of the non-ethnic clubs featured at “Fusion” were also big hits. The Notre Dame Martial Arts Institute demonstrated the skillful grace and threatening strength of Tae Kwon Do and Jujistsu. TroopND brought the freshest moves to Washington Hall, putting the SYR and Boat Club dance floors to shame. The First Class Steppers outdid themselves again this year with more acrobatic moves and participation from the ladies. Last but not least, a brand new club on campus called Project Fresh made its debut, winning the crowd approval right away for an auspicious initiation into the hearts of students.

By now most of the individual ethnic clubs have their own performances, like the Indian Association’s Bhangra Bash and FASO’s Fiestang, but the coordinators and Asian Allure veterans believe this “Fusion” is still necessary.

“[We] thought that Asian Allure was a good chance for all the clubs to come together with a united front and feature a multifaceted Asian culture,” senior model Joe Tan said. “And we all believe in the diversity dialogue. Not only ethnic diversity but other minority participation hopefully encourages some more students to break out of their comfort zone and see what we can do together.”