CSA And KSA Present Culture Show
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 13:02
Judging by attendance numbers alone, a casual onlooker at Robsham Theater Sunday evening could hardly have guessed the difficulties organizers faced in putting together their culture show. The Korean Students Association (KSA) and Chinese Students Association (CSA) collaborated on the annual event to celebrate the lunar New Year, originally scheduling it for Feb. 8.
The emergence of Nemo delayed the event to Feb. 10, however. With that fortuitous gain came a variety of losses. Now, the show was to occur on a night that preceded classes rather than the weekend, and it conflicted with a basketball game against Duke University.
Additionally, many methods of transit were still unavailable due to the blizzard. “The storm had a serious impact on people outside the BC campus,” said Joshua Li, CSA co-president and CSOM ’13. “We were expecting so many people from BU, Dartmouth, and some of our hometown friends to come, and now they couldn’t be here.”
Nonetheless, Robsham Theater was filled to near capacity, as hundreds of students braved the frigid day to view a spectacular celebration of cultural tradition and modern identity. “Despite the postponement, we’re really happy with the way it turned out, and we’re grateful for the support at Robsham and everyone at the University. It was a great last culture show for me as a senior,” said Samuel Cho, KSA public relations chair and A&S ’13.
The performers, too, were disingenuous in their exuberant expressions and near-flawless acts. Few could have imagined that they had a mere three weeks to practice, cut by scheduling issues from the customary five weeks. Many students juggled multiple acts.
The acts featuring dance or martial arts were especially impressive in their synchronicity, as well as in the skill and energy of the performers. True to tradition, certain elements were performed differently according to the gender of the dancers. For example, a graceful, elegant female ribbon dance segment was followed by its forceful, staccato male counterpart.
In addition to exotic traditional acts such as the ribbon dance, the lion dance, Chinese yo-yo, and martial arts, music spanning the last two decades, originating from Asia as well as the U.S., served as the backdrop for a number of different dances and martial arts segments. Even traditional dances were sometimes performed with a modern flair and aided by the imaginative manipulation of lights.
CSA members produced powerful renditions of classic ballads such as Zhang Hongliang’s “You’re the Only One in the World Who Doesn’t Know,” while the KSA repertoire was more likely to feature up-tempo pieces that served to show off impressive vocals.
The show was organized in two parts, with an intermission honoring executive board members separating the Chinese and Korean elements. The duality was harmonized by segments of a skit parodying conflicts within Asian American families. Symbolically, the young, rebellious protagonist was the product of a marriage between a Chinese man and a Korean woman, and his struggles with identity functioned as clever transitions between the various acts while simultaneously sharing Chinese and Korean traditions and biases with the racially diverse audience.
As a whole, the proceedings of this year’s CSA/KSA culture show reflected a traditional value of many East Asian cultures: no matter how many difficulties were in the way, one must always display one’s best side—and make it look easy. “I’m glad we were able to pull through,” said Jeffrey Yang, CSA co-president and CSOM ’13.