Asian communities celebrate "Awakenings"

Sisters of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority perform the "Terry Lee Springroll Show" at Eisenhower Auditorium as part of the 'Awakenings' program.

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Traditional song and dance, modern grooves, and theatrical skits last night in Eisenhower Auditorium set the stage for the events of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

"Awakenings," a program organized by the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) to celebrate diversity within the Asian Pacific community, entertained a diverse crowd filling half the first level of the auditorium.

S isters of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority perform the "Terry Lee Springroll Show" at Eisenhower Auditorium as part of the 'Awakenings' program.

Thongpaseuth Chanthakoumane (senior-business logistics and international business), co-cultural director of APAC in charge of coordinating the performances, said the purpose of the program was two-fold.

"(We wanted) to bring together the Asian communities on campus . . . and to get people excited about the coming events," Chanthakoumane said.

The first performance was a traditional Chinese ribbon dance by the little sisters of Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity. The stage lights were darkened, hiding the performers but allowing black lights to illuminate their white ribbons that swirled to the music of Faye Wong, a contemporary Asian artist.

Next was Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority's comical spoof of "The Jerry Springer Show" discussing the difficulties of merging cultures. The sketch drew cheers from the crowd.

Jeffrey Huang (graduate-electrical engineering) found the program funny but also appreciated its message.

"It showed the cultural difference between people raised here and their Asian parents," Huang said.

Following the spoof was the first of two performances by the Asian American Christian Fellowship. Body worship by members of the group featured interpretative dance to the music of Out of Eden. Later in the program, members acted out the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as seen by angels protecting him.

Penn State's Tae Kwon Do Club gave a demonstration of their sport as well. They displayed the form, self-defense techniques, sparring and breaking of the boards that distinguish the sport.

A ballet performance turned modern came next, followed by an a cappella solo by a member of the Cambodian American Student Association.

The first act was capped by a step performance from the brothers of Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity. Stomping out rhythms with their hands and boot-clad feet, their stepping elicited many cheers and whistles from the crowd.

However, a group of young girls performing a traditional Korean fan dance in brightly colored costumes received the loudest applause of the night as they began the second act.

A pair of students from the Taiwanese American Student Association came next, telling the story through song of a Penn State student learning to make Asian heritage a part of her life. A dancer representing the Indian Student Association performed a dance about a young girl who is in love for the first time.

The sisters of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority returned to dance to songs from the '80s and '90s as well as from this year. They completed the evening by calling forward memories of their lives in America.

Jessica Carley (sophomore-biobehavioral health) appreciated the variety of performances presented during the evening.

"It was nice to see all the different organizations representing their cultures and coming together as one," Carley said.

The events of Asian Pacific American Heritage month continue at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Heritage Hall with "Hopes and an Orange Duck," a play written by former Penn State student Ameca Shang about an Asian-American woman's struggle with perfection.