ASA Takes Center Stage in “A Work in Translation”

By Meredith Scheiring, Contributing Writer

Saturday, Oct. 1 was the annual Bryn Mawr Asian Students Association (ASA) Culture Show. Titled “A Work in Translation,” this year’s event featured several groups from the Bi- and Tri-Co, the Philadelphia area, and around the country. The show opened with Kyo Daiko, a Philadelphia community group associated with the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. This talented group performed taiko drumming, traditional Japanese percussion that was both captivating to watch and incredible to hear. The quartet was followed by one of two films produced for the show. The film shared interviews of students in the community who discussed questions and intersections of identity translation both on and off campus. Afreen, a Bryn Mawr dance group, was up next, performing a spirited dance to a dhol, or drum, song that got the crowd pumped up. On a more serious note, Rhea Manglani ’17 of Bryn Mawr performed two spoken word pieces exploring first the college transition and experience and then questions of love and self-love.

Miranda Canilang and Friend Chaiprasit were the stars of the next performance as a couple in Tai-๑ne. This energetic group performed a conglomeration of bamboo dancing, which is “a festive traditional dance shared by many Southeast Asian cultures” such as Thailand, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The final performance before intermission was a stand-up comedy routine by Subhah Agarwal, an Indian-American comedian who shared her experiences growing up in the Midwest and exploring her identity as both a woman and a comedian in the context of her upbringing by “strict parents in a suburban world.”

Hometown Hero, a Bi-Co band, began the second half by playing amazing covers of three of their favorite songs; their performance was followed by the second ASA film, which explored the theme of language translation alongside translation of identity and culture in interviews with ASA and other Bryn Mawr students. Two dance groups then performed pieces, starting with Mayuri, the Tri-Co South Asian fusion dance team. Their first performance of the year, the dance featured “Item Girl, a lively and upbeat medley of songs performed by some of Bollywood’s sassiest ladies.” Also in their first performance of the year, Bi-Co Korean Pop dance group Choom Boom shared Genie, a piece showcasing that “our passion is what drives our success.”

The show closed with an emotional and moving performance by Rachel Rostad, winner of a prize from the Academy of American Poets who has also been featured on both Upworthy and Jezebel. Rostad read from her chap-book “Homecoming,” sharing the story of searching for and meeting her biological mother in Korea. Several Bryn Mawr students then modeled traditional and modern Asian styles, culminating a full and engaging night with a lively Fashion Show. ASA President Amy Xu shared some final remarks about the importance of finding and creating spaces in our communities to celebrate Asian, Pan-Asian, and Asian-American identities, and “A Work in Translation” was a fantastic event to do just that.

From the print edition published Oct. 5, 2016

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