CSA & KSA Embrace Diversity
Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
A brilliant fusion of talents, customs, and traditions took place in Robsham Theater this past Saturday night as the Chinese Students Association (CSA) and the Korean Students Association (KSA) presented their 12th annual show, Two Cultures One Dream. The organizations' joint presentation included a diverse assortment of entertainment, such as dancing, singing, and even martial arts.
To tie all of the performances together, the show had an Olympics theme that ran in between each act. As China and Korea competed against each other to win the most medals, the two sides bantered back and forth with incredibly cheesy yet memorable puns. In the midst of their rivalry, though, a forbidden, Romeo and Juliet-esque love springs up between a couple of opposing competitors. They learn, by the end of the show, however, that their cultures need not separate them, and in a touching, final act of acceptance, the two individuals exchange their countries' flags.
With steady pounding drums, the show began when students demonstrated the Chinese Lion Dance, a celebrative custom "meant to spread joy and good fortune." The two glittering green and silver lions shook across the stage, angry and fierce, symbolizing both beauty and strength. An amusing Korean dance called the Talchum was performed next. The dancers wore colorful masks and used long scarves during their routine. Light and playful, the dancers hopped, waved, and jumped around the stage, teasing the audience. They brought out the drums once again for the Samulnori, a Korean tradition featuring the percussion sounds of four instruments to represent the natural elements: thunder, rain, clouds, and wind. The resounding, rhythmic pangs of the drums were powerful, and somehow, the contrasting tones actually complemented each other.
Two Cultures One Dream also featured calm, thoughtful performances as well. For example, the Chinese Ribbon Dance was emotionally evocative and aesthetically pleasing. The girls twirled about with their long silk ribbons, mirroring the splendor of a colorful rainbow and the movements of a "wandering dragon." Similarly, the Korean Fan Dance, choreographed by Esther Lee Lynch, A&S '12, and Dasom Yang, A&S '12, presented dancers in bright red and pink flowing skirts with peony blossom fans. Graceful and elegant, they aligned themselves to fluidly form patterns and designs with their fans.
A highlight of the show was the Chinese Yo-Yo act. Vivid colored discs, spinning on a string with two sticks tied to its ends, were launched up in to the air for the other yo-yo-ers to catch. The crowd held its breath as the discs flew up and down. When the theater went black and the yo-yos became glow-in-the-dark, flashing and blinking different colored lights, the audience was truly mesmerized by the electrifying performance. The Dragon Lantern routine was thrilling too. Glowing red lanterns on long poles illuminated the ebony theater as the performers arranged them into intricate, precise patterns and designs.
After charming audience members with radiant lights, KSA and CSA stunned them with their expertise in the martial arts. First, a group of boys in tight, yellow jump suits exhibited their skills in Kung Fu. Bryan Cheng, A&S '15, the choreographer, synchronized all of the moves to the music, making the demonstration extremely intense and gripping. A presentation of Tae Kwon Do followed next. The boys kicked and flipped and chopped wood, with their feet, their hands, and even with their heads.
Aside from showing off their dangerous side with their self-defense moves, the culture groups revealed that they could sing and dance too. With both a Chinese music act and a Korean music act, they sang in their respective native languages and performed several fun dance numbers. The girls were sassy and sweet, and the boys were classy and smooth. Full of energy and spunk, all of their routines were pleasurable to watch. They ended Two Cultures One Dream with an all inclusive modern dance routine. It was really incredible to see so many people on the stage at once, all so different and unique, yet all synchronized and in-time together to perform a single dance. The dance encompassed the sole purpose of the entire evening: to both highlight and appreciate the individual magnificence of the Chinese and Korean traditions. In the end, KSA and CSA's show—witty, entertaining, and genuinely authentic—proved to be a successful blend of two of the distinctly beautiful, thriving cultures on BC's campus.