LNYF 2020 Reflections~
I wrote a post about cultural showcases last year, but this time I’m going to focus on the Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF), a huge cultural showcase put on by the Asian American Student Association (AASA), which happened just yesterday! It’s hands down my favorite Vandy activity because students from various backgrounds, come together to learn a dance and increase their cultural understanding. LNYF celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year through Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander cultures. You can watch last year’s showcase here if you’re interested (this post will be updated with more pictures/YouTube link to this year’s show as soon as they’re available). Here is a little more information about it and my experience.
At the end of the fall semester, choreographers hold auditions and you can pick your top three dances to audition for. You don’t need prior dance experience to participate, which makes it a perfect opportunity to try a cultural dance! Once you are notified which dance you were accepted to, at the start of the spring semester, your dance will typically have two-hour rehearsals twice a week up until the performance. For this year, however, we had a total of 5 hours of practice every week!! Even though it was a huge time commitment, it was SO WORTH all the time and energy spent! I got to spend time with some of my best friends, make new friends, and learn choreography to some of my favorite songs.
I have danced in LNYF since I was a freshman, first dancing in the traditional Korean fan dance, buchaechum and then watersleeves, a traditional Chinese dance during both my sophomore and junior years. For my last LNYF/senior year, I danced in K-pop (and Senior Dance – when all the seniors of the show come together), which was so much fun and also a very new experience for me as I danced classical ballet for about eight years. For those of you unfamiliar with K-pop, it stands for Korean pop; basically pop music in Korean. What makes it stand out is the intricate hip hop/modern dance choreography that goes along with each song a k-pop band releases. Here is one of the songs we took an excerpt from. Every song has its unique intense choreography and I think that’s what makes every k-pop song so special. I had never really done any sort of hip hop dance, so it was super exciting to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. I love listening to k-pop music, but I never really tried actually dancing to it until this year. My K-pop group was amazing, our choreographers are incredible and SO talented; I had so much fun bonding and dancing with everyone on our team.
Every year LNYF has a theme based on the Chinese New Year Zodiac, so since this year is the year of the rat, this year’s theme was “A Recipe for Success,” loosely based on the story of Ratatouille. This year’s skit followed a girl struggling with her Asian and American identities and what defines success in each culture. It was an amazing storyline and one that I could relate to immensely. My favorite part of LNYF is the sharing and learning about different Asian cultures and making new friends outside the classroom. As a Blair student, the majority of my freshman and sophomore years were spent solely in Blair, so I wanted to find more opportunities to meet other students on campus.
Besides LNYF, there are a myriad of other showcases: The Diwali Showcase (TDS), Cafe Con Leche, Harambee, and Carnival. Dancing in these showcases are a great way to make new friends outside the classroom, learn more about different cultures, and have fun amidst all your schoolwork! I hope y’all enjoyed reading about my LNYF experience! If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.