Cultural show features dance, dialogues

BY MARIA SPROW
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 23, 2001

After months of preparation and with hopes of unifying the University community, the annual "Generation APA" multicultural show goes on stage tonight.

But those students wishing to attend will have a hard time getting in the door. LSA junior Rebecca Yeh, publicity manager for the show, said tickets have been sold out for more than a week.

The performance features a series of acts written, directed and choreographed by students in a variety of cultural campus organizations, including the Alpha Iota Omicron and Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternities, the Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority, the Chinese Christian Fellowship and the Korean, Hmong American and Japanese student associations. The United Asian American Organizations sponsors the event.

"The show doesn"t just represent one culture, it represents a variety of cultures," said GenAPA core team co-chair Dan Suh, an LSA sophomore. "This is definitely open to the whole campus community and everyone from the outside."

Suh said the show"s focus is to unify the campus.

"We support all the groups on campus. It"s a way for students to meet each other and interact with each other. It"s a way for students to learn about cultural differences," he said.

Performers were required to get to know each other by participating in community building exercises, such as a candlelight vigil against hate crimes and fun nights at the Central Campus Recreation Building.

"This is not just a show, it"s the six months that led up to the show. It"s all the community building, the practices, and everything that we think about diversity on campus," Suh said.

Another important aspect of the show is its educational value.

The acts range from the traditional Indian dance Raas a high-energy dance performed with two dandia sticks, which are hit together to produce the beat to dialogues, body worship, hip hop and spoken word. Ball tossing, which is a form of courtship in the Hmong culture, will also be incorporated into one of the skits.

"We feel that hip hop and spoken words are very important to today"s culture," Yeh said.

Other traditional dances being performed are the Chinese ribbon dance, Korean fan dance and traditional Hmong dancing.

Many of the acts will combine different dances with new age stepping and other performance mediums.

"They are multi-dimensional. There is not a group that only does one thing," Suh said. "We call them acts instead of skits because they are hard to categorize."

The performance is a part of this weekend"s Michigan Midwest Asian American Student Union 2001 Spring Conference. According to the MAASU, the purpose of the conference, which began yesterday with spirit games and lasts until Sunday afternoon, is to encourage activism and increase awareness among the Asian community.

In addition to GenAPA, the conference will feature entertainment by the Pacifics, a freestyle hip-hop group, and the Tongues, a group which emphasizes words and communication. The conference will also have workshops on interracial relationships, domestic violence, gang culture and environmental justice.

GenAPA is the largest pan-Asian cultural show in the nation, with more than 400 student participants. The show begins at 7:30 tonight at the Michigan Theater.