For the Asian community, it was Christmas all over again except that red envelopes were given out instead of colorful present and dumplings were served in place of baked ham.

Holiday spirits filled the air of Strong Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 6 as the audience enjoyed the exciting New Year celebration held by the Chinese Students’ Association: ‘China Nite 2010 Year of the Tiger.”

For the people who were involved, myself included, as a dancer, nothing could be more rewarding than to see people enjoying the show. The Lunar New Year holds a significant meaning for the Chinese community and it is our desire to share the excitement with as many people as possible.

The show began with a scene on an airplane and American pop music. A young girl, Miley (played by freshman Jennifer Chou) was on her way to visit Beijing, China. Sitting next to her was Di Pan (played by sophomore Manuel Sangkwon Lim), a young Chinese guy who was also visiting the city. It turned out that having grown up in America all her life, Miley became too ‘Americanized” to appreciate her ethnicity.

Di Pan, therefore, decided to take her around the city and showed her the ‘real” China. Following these characters, the audience had the opportunity to experience what Chinese culture was about through various performances incorporated within the story.

‘Dancing in every culture is an art,” the character Di Pan said. ‘There are all sorts of different styles. In China, dancing is about creating harmony. Fans are a great way for us to create harmony. There is more to our great culture than just fans. Many times we can diversify with other thing.”

The statement was followed by convincing proof dances were accompanied by representative objects ranging from long fans to handkerchiefs, umbrellas to eye-catching costumes. Through entertaining acts, the audience was introduced to the origins of the Lunar New Year, the meanings behind the use of the color red and other facts on subjects like Kung Fu and Mahjong.

Moreover, a light-hearted and funny video clip poked fun at and dismissed certain stereotypes such as ‘parents are cheap,” ‘people chew with their mouths open,” and

‘people obsess over some Zodiac fortune telling and Feng Shui.”
The goal was for people to have fun and not be bored to death. Because of our perspective as students, new aspects were blended in to reflect our generation.

‘What we hope people get out of it is some new light and perspective on Chinese culture,” CSA Vice President and senior Frances Wang said. ‘Some people have never seen a fan dance or a lion head dance, and so China Nite is an opportunity for people to kind of get a sampling taste of different attributes of Chinese culture.”

Modern musical elements were included in the show, without taking away the Chinese ‘feelings.” The audience was entertained when soothing jazz music and ballet were combined with the popular ‘Boom Boom Pow” beats and hip-hop moves, choreographed by sophomores Susana Ho and Moxi Zhou.

Dancers, junior Jason Tan and Take Five Scholar Ed Chung, showed off their break-dancing techniques, receiving multiple rounds of applause from the audience.
The last performance, choreographed by sophomore Alexandria Xuechen Bao, was mixed with modern Chinese music and moves akin to those of Beyonc’s ‘Single Ladies.”

‘It was a phenomenal musical and visual feast with an entertaining touch of Chinese culture,” freshman Christi Erba, one of the students who came to celebrate the night, said.

The big day is officially over, but it seems like the feelings still linger. When one comes across Facebook pictures, videos and statuses such as ‘Muran Zhu just realized that there are no more China Nite rehearsals,” there is a mutual feeling of emptiness.

Music and moves no longer occupy the choreographers’ dreams and notebooks. Friday nights, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons on the dancers’ planners are now free of multiple practice times.

I wish everyone in the upcoming year many joys and great fortunes. Happy New Year!

Ngo is a member of the class of 2013.

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