Chinese Students Association Culture Show: A Celebration of Chinese Heritage

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The Eboard of CSA goofing off before beginning the final preparations for this year’s culture show.
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“We organize a culture show every year to showcase student talent at Northeastern, as well as Chinese American culture in the Boston Area,” said Brian Zhu, the President of NUCSA, as he took a break from the pre-show preparations “We do this to show that our small but tight-knit community has a lot potential and talent and that we can be independent and resilient.”
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Orson Cheng, Guitarist of the band “Fifth Symphony”, awaits his turn to sound check outside of Blackman Auditorium.
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“I really enjoy performing at shows because it’s a lot of fun,” said Cheng, “I decided to come with my band this year because it’s another opportunity to have fun and be a star.”
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The NEU Dragon Dance Troupe soars through the crowd and onto the stage, bringing with them a splash of traditional Chinese Culture
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CSA President Zhu and Maggie Zhang focused on their task as percussionists for the NEU Dragon Dance Troupe
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Performers from the MIT Lion Dance Group locked in a ferocious yet flirtatious twirl, fighting over the canister of rice wine on stage
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The Lion Dancers shortly after the yellow lion released bowels full of candy off stage towards the audience
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A magnificent display of Chinese folk dance by the “Chinese Folk Art Workshop” (CFAW) based in Boston. The troupe is mainly made up of Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers who have an interest in Traditional Chinese Folk Culture. This performance is called “The Charm of Spring.”
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The second performance by CFAW titled “Yoyo Sensation.” A group of Middle Schoolers. The pictured item is called a “Diabolo,” a toy which originated from 12th Century China and was later popularized in the West.
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“Antiquity New Rhyme” was the third performance put on by CFAW. This featured a group of dancers that moved in motions similar to that of a peacock.
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The last performance by CFAW is “The Beating of Drums,” a display of traditional Chinese percussion instruments.

Fresh Off the Boat, Restaurant owner and writer Eddie Huang’s ABC sitcom about a Taiwanese American Immigrant family, featured an interesting scene in its first season. Eddie Huang’s younger self is seen opening the school lunch his mother packed for him: several delicate looking rice dumplings that were met with the jeers of his white classmates who were not accustomed to Chinese cuisine. Eddie went back to his parents later with one request: I need white people lunch.

Being the children of first-generation immigrant families is tough work. These kids live in duality between two worlds; they constantly balance between embracing the cultures of their new home whilst not forgetting the cultures of their parents. Not too long ago this “otherness” was seen as a faulty quality; immigrants were expected to assimilate and get used to the cultures of their new home.

Today, the same children of these immigrant families celebrate the very cultures they were told to shun.

For the second year, Northeastern University’s Chinese Student Association (NUCSA) hosted a culture show that celebrates that duality between its member’s two worlds. From Dragon and Lion Dances to contemporary Chinese pop songs, the skits and acts of the show featured a myriad of Chinese Culture that are both old and new.

Brian Zhu, the President of NUCSA and a first-generation immigrant, said that the culture shows each year feature a different issue. “[The show] this year is a lot more ‘real’ and deals with the themes of running a cultural organization as minorities,” said Zhu, “Last year our topic was the lack of Asian American representation in Media.”

The show also featured four performances by the Chinese Folk Art Workshop (CFAW), which performers were mainly made up of middle schoolers and high schoolers.

“Our mission is to increase awareness of Chinese culture in local communities throughout Boston, Massachusetts, and New England Areas,” said a spokesperson of CFAW, “We want our young performers to embrace and cherish their heritage, while spreading awareness of their beautiful culture with others.”

Based on the success of the culture shows so far, Zhu said that NUCSA has plans to turn the Culture Show into an annual event.

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