The first in-person Asian Nite since 2019 was held at the Jorgensen Center Saturday night, highlighting traditional and modern Asian culture through performance. Sponsored by UConn’s Asian American Cultural Center and presented by the Pan Asian Council, the event included 14 student acts — skits, dancing, martial arts and more.
The program kicked off with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, which mesmerized the audience with their flowing movements and stunning costumes. UConn Wushu kept people on the edge of their seats with their fantastic swordplay, flips and kung fu.
Another martial arts group taking on the stage was T-Huskies, composed of students from UConn Club Taekwondo. Club Taekwondo primarily trains for competitions, but T-Huskies sets techniques to music — offering the art in an entertaining form fit for a general audience.
“IT WAS REALLY INTERESTING AS A SOLO PERFORMER TO BE ABLE TO HAVE COMPLETE CONTROL OVER THE LOGISTICS OF MY PERFORMANCE.”Krishna Chilakpati
“Our performance incorporates board breaking, nunchucks, swords, self-defense techniques and choreographed form,” said T-Huskies president Sruthi Takillapati, an eighth-semester physiology and neurobiology major.
Event-goers also got a taste of classical Indian dance and Carnatic music through UConn Sanskriti and a glimpse at Bollywood cinema through UConn Udaan. UConn Surya presented a fusion of Indian dance styles through the story of Hansel and Gretel.
The three emcees kept the crowd entertained throughout, performing a charming rendition of “A Whole New World,” asking the audience trivia questions and even filming a TikTok.
The event required extensive preparation, with the audition process taking place in October and November of last semester. Performances were not limited to on-campus groups. Individual performers were also invited to contribute.
“It was really interesting as a solo performer to be able to have complete control over the logistics of my performance,” said Krishna Chilakapati, a fourth-semester computer science major.
“our performance incorporates board breaking, nunchucks, swords, self-defense techniques and choreographed form.”Sruthi Takillapati
Chilakapati, who has been dancing since the age of five, wanted to continue performing in college, but didn’t know if she could commit to a dance team. Asian Nite gave her the opportunity to present a Maharashtrian folk dance on her own.
“I had to plan the audio, lighting, proper usage of stage area and many other things I didn’t know came with performing. Through Asian Nite, I not only got to showcase my talent, but also learned a lot about creating a performance,” Chilakapati continued.
Another individual performer, Marina Sounanthanam, depicted a folktale through dance. The story involved a woman who transformed into a bird, and Sounanthanam’s costume had a colorful plumage that truly made her look the part.
The Filipino American Student Association danced with tea lights representing fireflies, choosing a song and routine that highlighted the influence of Spain. The night winded down with KConn, a K-Pop dance group that retold the popstar experience with their act.
Though Asian Nite is over, there are plenty of events yet to come. The AACC is collaborating with the Jorgensen Center once more for the Art & Activism Lecture Series. Tickets are currently on sale for their event on April 14, where they will welcome rapper and spoken word artist Ruby Ibarra.