Asian Nite ‘17: A magnificent multicultural mashup

Love, conflict, K-Pop and even vampires were just a few of the themes showcased at Asian Nite ‘17, with over 1,000 people packing the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts for the show on Saturday evening.

Organized by the Pan Asian Council and part of the University of Connecticut Asian American Cultural Center, Asian Nite featured over 16 different Asian American student organizations, including Uconn Sanskriti, Illumin8, UConn Taiko and others.

Hosted by students Venkatram Gopal, Edward Huang, Kevin Song and Arnell Lee, each performance was punctuated by tongue-in-cheek miniature skits, asides and quips from the MC’s, along with videos projected onto Jorgensen’s video screens to introduce the organizations.

Each group that performed had their own unique style and presentation. Husky Bhangra, which was the opening performance for the evening, featured traditional dance moves from Punjab, India, blended with modern Indian music and Bollywood tunes.

Several organizations centered their performances around a central plot or storyline. UConn Surya featured a mashup between traditional dancing and modern music, telling the story of a pair of sisters who hunt vampires. The Filipino-American Student Association told the love story of an old couple through traditional courting and wedding dances.

Other organizations showcased their skills. UConn’s Taekwondo club began their segment with pattern demonstration, and concluded with a board-breaking session so energetic that bits of wood flew into the audience.

Along with team performances, a few solo acts were featured as well, including a Chinese flute song from the Hong Kong Student Association.  

The performances can take months to plan, coordinate and perfect, according to Karen Mathew, a two-year member of UConn Surya who is a sixth semester physiology and neurobiology major.

“It was so much fun, (and) months and months of preparation,” Mathews said. “We just wanted to come here and give the best performance we could. We’ve been working on this the entire year. The props, everything.”

To wrap up the evening, all 16 groups that performed gathered on stage for a group photo and take a bow, to a standing ovation.

The audience’s reactions throughout the evening were enthusiastic, with students cheering, chanting their groups’ names and even waving their cell phone lights during certain songs.

“It was amazing,” said Dhaval Patel, a second semester engineering major. “I know so many people put so much effort into this.”

Others were impressed by the diversity of the performances.

“It was really successful,” said Jessica Hong, an eighth semester pharmacy major. “It as a great variety of different cultures and different performances. I loved the different acts and songs.”


Marlese Lessing is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at marlese.lessing@uconn.edu. She tweets @marlese_lessing.