Some of the highlights of the night were cultural dances such as Tinikling, a folk dance of the Philippines. Two people click two bamboo sticks together to a beat while the dancers step between the poles. The dancing couple, Rachelle Malit and Gian Garcia, danced faster and faster in and out of sticks to the rhythm of the music, and even spun around as the audience waited with abated breath for the slightest trip.
The Dragon Dance celebrated the Chinese New Year with a charming depiction of the mythological creature. The dragon dances fervently while winking amid cheers, but a challenger appears and a dance breakout ensues. In the ultimate culmination of skill and rhythmic moves, the dancers inside the dragon jumped on each other’s shoulder to create a towering monster. The challenger, naturally, bowed in defeat.
The main storyline of the event focused on the “Wizard of Oz” with a modern and cultural spin on an iconic tale. The act played on Asian stereotypes (Dorothy is given an abacus in lieu of red shoes) and the popular characters had deficiencies in areas in which popular culture depicts Asians as lacking: singing, playing basketball, and running for a political office. The performance also modernized the classic, featuring a wicked witch who prefers a Swiffer Sweeper over a broomstick.
The Fashion Show was held on the yellow brick road and depicted traditional attire from Korea, China, India, Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines, as well as modern pieces designed by Tiffany Saini. Amid the many colorful paper fans abound, Justin Cha, a sophomore in civil engineering expressed his disappointment with the show. “I was kinda upset about the lack of variety of fashion show clothes,” he said, “I wish there were more.” Nonetheless, the pretty girls in saris and kimonos left many an audience member howling.
The Pakistan Students Association portrayed “A Mehndi (Henna) Night;” the custom wedding tradition followed after by the vibrant dance between the groom and the bride. The elegant portrayal of a real wedding only had a few alterations. The narrator apologetically noted, “Thanks to the economic downtown, we were forced to use invisible rosebuds.”
The night of fun and dance was underscored by an important cause. Andrew Poon and, pianist, Eric Slim remixed Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” to promote the REACH project. The organization is sponsored by the Asian Students Association and stands for “Relaying Empowerment, Anything Can Happen.” ASA, in partnership with China Tomorrow Foundation Education, plan to build a school in China to strengthen the mentality that all students can change the world. Their goal is to reach $50,000. All proceeds from the event went to the donation. In a moment of freestyling ability, Poon asked “What were hands for?” and listed a number of uses (clapping, laughing, waving), but then concluded that hands REACH-ed.
Asia Nite also detailed tacas, or Chinese yo-yo, entertainment provided by the Triangle Area Chinese American Society of North Carolina, a mythological skit between the Sun and Sea God put on by the Vietnamese Students Association, and a performance by Fusion, N.C. State’s cultural hip-hop dance team. The event was also headlined by a musical performance from Tatum Jones, an Asian-American trio from Los Angeles whom has appeared on television and stage with popular artists like Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys, and Justin Timberlake.
Finally, the travelers reach the “More beautiful than emerald- it must be Jade!” City, the Wizard hits on Dorothy and tells the others that they (surprise) had their ability in themselves all along. The singer with the horrible voice became “Bubble T-Pain,” the inept basketball player is given magic dust of special abilities, and the politician, Fa Chang, under the platform “Vote Fa Change”- well, had a good run.
As for Dorothy, the Good Witch informs her that it was the abacus that was holding her back and pressuring her to become a stereotype. “Break it,” she advised,” and say, “There’s nothing I can’t do.”- Dorothy manages to arrive at home under her instruction. Overall, this year’s Asia Night pleased students and provided motivation for bigger and better things. “It’s generally good advice for everyone: there’s nothing you can’t do” denotes Chuong, “Except I don’t need a witch to tell me so.”