2016 Celebrasia show rings in Chinese Year of the Monkey


Source: Brian Lichliter

Dancers perform at Celebrasia in 2014. This year’s show will be monkey-themed in honor of the start of the Chinese Year of the Monkey.

Kelley Czajka, Reporter


Audience members walking into Cahn Auditorium’s lobby on Saturday night will have the chance to take selfies with a huge, Chinese paper lion head. The mythical creature, propped up by bamboo sticks and a crew of people, will kick off the festivities of Celebrasia: Year of the Monkey.

The Chinese Students Association and Taiwanese American Students Club annually host the Celebrasia show to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This year’s show features both professional and student acts and is themed “Primates of the Caribbean” in honor of the Chinese Year of the Monkey, which started on Feb. 8.

Chinese Student Association external president Leo Zhu, a Weinberg senior, said Celebrasia is based off of the Chinese New Year tradition in which people see a long show with dancers, singers, and other performers.

“I see pictures of everyone having massive banquets back in China and I’m like ‘Oh I’m missing out,’” Zhu, who is from China, said. “So this is kind of to make up for that.”

Celebrasia will include student performances by Refresh Dance Crew and the East Asian interest a cappella group the Treblemakers. There will also be four professional performers including singer-songwriter Kina Grannis and America’s Best Dance Crew runner-up Kinjaz.

Although the performers may not blatantly incorporate the show’s “Primates of the Caribbean” theme, it will be evident in decorations and student videos in between acts, Zhu said. He added the videos, which feature a play on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, will present a story that has comedy, action and romance.

“It’s telling its own story,” he said. “The point is to have one coherent arc throughout the show to wrap it all up.”

TASC president Austen Bhayani, a McCormick senior, said the clubs worked to make this production of Celebrasia the most polished it’s been. To improve the audience experience, he added, the groups decided to feature more professional acts than previous years in order to make sure the acts are unique and something new that people haven’t seen before on campus.

CSA internal president Jonathan Lo, a Weinberg senior, said he hopes the additional professional performances, increased from previous years, as well as monkey-themed decorations will impress audiences.

“Every year I do the show, my friends come up to me and say, ‘Hey man, that was the best show I’ve seen at Northwestern,’” Lo said. “From the moment you walk in the decorations seem more than just another student group, same with the flyers and the acts that we bring out and the programs — everything is a little more than what you would expect from a student group.”

Besides just holding the performance, another way the groups bring together the Chinese community is by reserving seats for young children in China Care, Lo said. NU’s chapter of China Care works with local adopted Chinese children to give them exposure to Asian culture which they might not get in homes or at their schools, he said.

Bhayani said although the show is about seeing great performances, it is also about instilling family values.

“That’s one of the big things for us as the presidents because we’re all seniors and so we’ll be leaving and just cherishing the moments we still have on campus with the people that we get to interact with every day,” he said. “So (coming together as a community) is going to be one of the big themes I think for our show.”

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