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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
The Observer

Asian Allure show combines Asian culture, showmanship

The Asian American Association will host Asian Allure this Friday and Saturday in order to draw attention to Asian culture at Notre Dame. The show’s theme, “Step into the Light,” highlights the experiences and traditions of Asian students on campus, sophomore and director Eric Kim said.

“Overall, our goal for Asian Allure, as an Asian community, is to bond,” he said. “[It’s] to continue to make that family. It’s to continue showing support for one another, through performance, through rehearsals.”

The show aims to allow Asian students to connect with their cultures and educate non-Asian audience members about the culture, Kim said.

“That’s what the theme ‘Step into the Light’ means,” he said. “Not only for the performers to literally step into the light, but also for them to showcase their talent and their appreciation for Asian culture. But in terms of the audience, I want them to see the light of how Asian culture is very diverse.”

Asian Allure will feature over 20 student groups, Kim said. Sophomore Daren Sia, president of the Chinese Culture Society, said his club will perform a traditional water sleeve dance and a modern hot pot dance.

“The hot pot song is just a really fun song to listen to,” he said. “When you look at people dancing to it, it looks like a really fun dance to do, so I wanted to do [it]. And I saw one of my friends perform it a while back, so I’ve always had a good opinion of it. With the watersleeve [dance], it’s something our club has done a lot in the past years, so I wanted to keep that tradition.”

The event presents an informal way for participants to get to know people both within their clubs and in other organizations, Sia said.

“In general, with Asian Allure, it’s a really great opportunity to get to know people within the different clubs,” he said. “ … It’s a great way to get to know the people in your club, to get more involved with it. It isn’t something that’s very serious, so you can afford to not feel that much pressure about it.”

Sophomore Qiyu Zhang, a member of the Chinese Culture Society, also said she enjoyed the bonding aspect of Asian Allure.

“I really like the cooperation between other peers at Asian Allure,” she said. “Last year — because I was a freshman coming in — I got intimidated, but that kind of helped me through a great transition because you really talk to people, get to know people.”

Zhang said she hopes audience members leave the show with a better understanding of Asian culture.

“I know sometimes if I take my friends to some Asian restaurant, some of them just refuse to try it because they feel like it’s too exotic or something,” she said. “So I feel like, especially with performances and music and dancing, it’s easier to get people together and appreciate different cultures.”

Sophomore Mita Ramani, director of the Indian Association’s Asian Allure performance, said she hopes the audience recognizes how much the performers love their culture.

“I hope they see how modern our culture can be because sometimes there a lot of misconceptions that Indian culture is very backwards, and it’s really not,” she said. “It’s really beautiful. It’s really colorful. It’s really modern.”

Many of the students participating in the Indian Association’s performance have never danced before, Ramani said.

“Helping them learn moves they’ve never done before or hand gestures they’ve never done before is definitely a challenge, but everybody’s been up to the challenge so it hasn’t really been difficult — it’s just been something to learn,” she said. “But it’s been pretty cool because I think everyone at this point kind of has it down and has had a lot of fun with it.”

The event can help start dialogue and build common ground between students of different cultures, sophomore and treasurer of the Indian Association Jessica D’Souza said.

“I feel like a lot of times when we talk about race or diversity, we talk about problems and ‘here’s what wrong with this’ or ‘here’s a struggle with that,’” she said. “But I hope for an hour or two people can come and just enjoy music and enjoy dance or enjoy song.

“Having that experience of, ‘Hey, I really enjoyed this,’ or, ‘That’s got a really sick beat,’ just those moments make people more aware of the beauty in other cultures. … I think it’s small experiences like that, that help you start dialogue.”

Asian Allure will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in Washington Hall. Tickets can be purchased in the LaFortune Student Center or at the door.