This past Saturday, the Chinese Students Association (CSA) and the Korean Students Association (KSA) presented their 14th annual Culture Show, the Jade Awards. The show celebrated the diversity of Chinese and Korean cultures through an array of traditional and contemporary cultural performances.
As one of the largest events of the year for both organizations, the cultural showcase included 13 performances and over 150 student-performers. Each performance explored a different facet of Korean or Chinese tradition, both old and new. In conjunction with this year’s theme, the production was conducted as a competition show, with each individual performance competing to win the honor of the Jade Award. The pretext of competition allowed for a fluid transition between the performances, as the masters of ceremony, Austin Hong, CSOM ’16, and Alison Chan, A&S ’16, announced each new piece as a new contender for the award.
The show commenced with the traditional Chinese Lion Dance, a celebratory dance in which the performers imitate a lion’s movements. The extensive choreography by Tony Hu, A&S ’17, and the elaborate traditional lion costume helped make an impactful first performance. Other traditional Chinese performances included an impressive kung fu fight routine set to contemporary music, choreographed by Thinh Nguyen, CSOM ’15. The Dragon Lantern performance, a traditional Chinese dance that uses mounted paper lanterns to imitate dragons, illuminated the theater as the performers lined the aisles with their lanterns, making intricate designs and patterns. The ancient Ribbon Dance, in which dancers create sharp, rhythmic movements using long colorful ribbons, was modernized through the incorporation of contemporary music in lieu of traditional Chinese music. Other acts that explored contemporary Chinese culture include the Chinese pop music dance and vocal performances, and the Chinese yo-yo routine, in which the performers juggled colored, glow-in-the-dark discs on the traditional Chinese yo-yo-a modern approach to a traditional Chinese pastime.
The display of Korean culture began with the Salmunori drum routine choreographed by Woo Young Choi, A&S ’16, featuring the repetitive percussion of four instruments used to represent the natural elements: thunder, clouds, rain, and wind. The Korean Fan Dance featured dancers in traditional Korean dress, using fans to elegantly imitate images and form patterns.
In one of the more intense performances of the night, students meticulously executed the Korean martial arts tradition, Tae Kwon Do. Similar to the Chinese pop music performances, there was an array of contemporary vocal and dance routines set to Korean pop music, or K-Pop.
Closing the Korean acts was a performance by Aero-K, the Korean hip-hop dance group and former winners of the cultural category in the ALC Showdown, an annual dance competition.
Beyond the performances, the show included a presentation from the Boston chapter of the non-profit organization Kollaboration.
“Kollaboration Boston is a branch of Kollaboration, a national non-profit that promotes Asian-American involvement in the music and entertainment industry,” said Grace Lee, executive director of Kollaboration Boston and A&S ’14.
Kollaboration seeks to foster positive perceptions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the arts by providing a platform for artists to showcase their talents, through talent competition.
The Boston chapter, founded by Boston College alumnus Eric Nam, A&S ’11, has seen much growth since its establishment in 2011.
“This year at Kollaboration Boston we are trying to expand our reach to other schools, and show our support for cultural shows and cultural organizations in Boston,” said Eric An, director of operations and CSOM ’14.
The showcase concluded with a modern dance routine, including performers from both CSA and KSA. The joint performance promoted inclusiveness between Chinese and Korean cultures, while still acknowledging the individuality of cultural distinctions. By doing so, the routine communicated the aim of the the Jade Awards-an appreciation of cultural diversity and acceptance. In the end, no single performance was awarded the Jade Award, but-in conjunction with the theme of cultural acceptance-all on stage shared the honor.
Beyond its modern exploration of Chinese and Korean tradition, The Jade Awards served as a platform for generating greater, more knowledgeable cultural discussion.
“Culture Show not only gives members the opportunity to explore these two amazing cultures, but also allows us to share them with both the Boston College community, and the greater Boston area,” Hong said.