Students ring in Chinese New Year with ‘Celebrasia’

Kristyn Schiavone

The Taiwanese American Students Club and the Chinese Students Association helped Northwestern ring in the Chinese New Year on Saturday night with Celebrasia, their annual collaborative showcase.

Drawing a crowd that filled the main floor of Ryan Auditorium, the event included 10 different performances to commemorate the start of the Year of the Rooster. Performers included students and specialists from outside the university. For the TrebleMakers, NU’s new Asian a capella group, the show doubled as a premiere.

TrebleMakers formed during Fall Quarter, said Music junior Christine Liu. The group performed three songs, all in Mandarin, but Liu said they will be doing some English pieces later in the year.

Medill freshman James Shih, another member of the TrebleMakers, said he believes Celebrasia helps NU students branch out and get a taste of other cultures.

“It promotes cultural diversity and gives a different perspective on the Asian-American community,” Shih said.

The men of Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity performed several step routines created specially for the event. Step captain Daniel Kim, a Weinberg sophomore, said they had bumped their practicing up from three to five times a week to prepare, and that many of the dancers were relatively inexperienced at first.

“We give it enough time so that brothers who want to do it can pull it off,” Shih said. “This is my first time stepping.”

TASC and CAS also brought outside performers. To kick off the festivities, a troupe from Michigan did the traditional Lion dance that is intended to bring prosperity and happiness. The Chinese YoYo Troupe hailed from the University of Illinois, and audience members also saw magician Rebekah Yen, who has performed at Disney World and appeared in “Life” magazine. An Evanston-based kung fu group returned, and the show culminated with professional Chinese acrobats. Performers balanced umbrellas with their feet, contorted their bodies and spun large ceramic vases on their heads.

McCormick senior Collwyn Tan, one of the students who worked on producing Celebrasia, said NU was very lucky that the Chinese acrobats were able to attend the event.

“They’re from China, and they’re on a tour right now,” Tan said. “We got the contact number somehow and asked them to stop by.”

Tan said he thought the audience was pleased with the evening and he hoped that it had increased awareness of the East Asian culture.

“I’ve been involved with this since I was a freshman, and this year was definitely one of the best ones,” Tan said.

McCormick junior Kevin Lee said he appreciated the uniqueness of the acts.

“I enjoyed the acrobats,” Lee said. “It’s not something you see every day.”

Even students who don’t traditionally celebrate the Chinese New Year said they found it to be an enjoyable evening. McCormick sophomore Laurie Dominijanni said it was her first experience celebrating the holiday.

“A friend invited me, and I’m glad I came,” Dominijanni said. “I think it’s really interesting.”

Reach Kristyn Schiavone at [email protected].