The United Asian American Organizations began preparations for this year’s Asian Pacific American cultural show before winter break, with participants having to go through numerous costume fittings, choreography lessons and skit practices. Their hard work paid off Friday night when roughly 700 people came to the Michigan Theater for the GenAPA show.

Paul Wong
Women perform a traditional dance at the GenAPA show Friday night at the Michigan Theater.

Started in 1996, the show aims to promote community and cultural awareness through the creative arts. It coincides with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which runs from March 5 to April 10 at the University.

“GenAPA is more than just a show. Participants have to go to events like the APA high school conference held here on campus, in which we discuss issues related to Asian Pacific Americans with high school students from the Detroit and metro-Detroit areas,” said event co-chair Brian Kim, an LSA senior.

“Through the show, we strive to stay in touch with our roots and at the same time learn from the many unique cultures that make up the Asian Pacific American community,” he added.

The show was a mixture of traditional and contemporary, American elements of the Asian Pacific American community, with 11 acts ranging from a classical Indonesian dance to modern hip hop dances. LSA junior Ashish Sinha said the adrenaline rush he experienced during his performance was simply amazing. He and his brothers from the Alpha Iota Omicron fraternity step danced while the Maya traditional Indian dancing group simultaneously performed the Bharatnatyam, a classical Indian dance.

“Initially we had only planned to do the step dance, but later we decided to collaborate with Maya because we wanted to make our act different,” Sinha said. “Plus, the Bharatnatyam was a perfect way to showcase our South Asian culture.”

LSA sophomore and first-time attendee Alison Root came to watch her friends perform. “I was really impressed with the diversity of the participants and also the audience,” Root said.

LSA senior Jason Storey, who attended the show for the second time, said he thinks that cultural events like the GenAPA show truly serve to invigorate the University community as a whole. “I’ve always supported events like these and I really hope more cultural organizations will follow suit and come forward to present their cultural heritage,” Storey said.

The United Asian American Organizations is the umbrella organization for 20 Asian Pacific American student groups on campus. Asian Pacific Americans make up approximately 12 percent of the student population at the University.

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