Awakening to Asian culture arises at HUB

Performers entice a HUB Ballroom crowd with a traditional Chinese fan dance during "Asian Awakening." The Asian-American Student Coalition celebrated Asian cultures with the event Saturday night.

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The HUB Assembly Room was filled with laughing and awe-struck people Saturday night for the fifth annual "Asian Awakening."

The event, which left many attendees' hands hurting from too much clapping, was the core event of Asian-American Awareness Month, said Soumya Dayananda, vice president of the Asian-American Student Coalition.

Acts included traditional dances from China, the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Taiwan, as well as performances to contemporary songs, with a bit of comedy thrown in. The mixture of new and old was a combination that met the theme of the month, "Rising from the East, Uniting in the West."

Loan Tran (senior-education), along with the rest of the cheering crowd, said she enjoyed the traditional Chinese fan dance, "Mystique of the Far East."

Eight women in long, red silk robes and white pants impressed the crowd with the delicate waving of their fans. The dance is traditionally performed in China by a woman trying to attract a potential husband.

"Go Chappa Chappa," was yelled while the audience clapped to the beat of the dance by the Indian Students Association. "Chappa Chappa" is another courtship dance performed by four men trying to attract four women dressed in traditional red robes with green and gold accented scarves. The dance gained roaring applause.

"Maglalatik" was one of Dayananda's favorites and another crowd-pleaser.

"There's no words to describe it," she said.

Four shirtless men came on stage with pairs of coconut shells attached to their chests, backs and buttocks. As the tempo of the music picked up, the men had to tap on the shells with blocks attached to their palms faster and faster.

Other acts evoked laughs from the crowd, such as commercials for soy milk by members of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity and "A Disproportionate Family," by the Taiwanese American Student Club about a stereotypical Asian family.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show was the variety of cultures represented, Lim Wu (junior-mechanical engineering) said.

"There were a lot of things even I, as an Asian-American, was not aware of," he said.

Tran attended the event last year and said more cultures and more people were involved this year.

A fashion show was presented in which each Asian country's traditional attire was represented. The show of traditional clothing was juxtaposed with models in contemporary dress from local merchants. This contrast in clothing, as well as the former in dance, brought home the theme, "Rising from the East, Uniting in the West."