Posted by: gillianpet | November 29, 2021

Review – VariAsians 11/12

VariAsians took place on Friday, Nov. 12 from 6-9 in Chapin Auditorium. The event was organized by the Asian Student Association and is the largest Pan-Asian performing arts showcase on campus. ASA was founded in 1974 to serve as a community of support for Pan-Asian students at Mount Holyoke. Their goal is to celebrate and spread awareness of Pan- Asian culture and to promote Pan-Asian voices, experiences, and political engagement through various events and programs. VariAsians began as a potluck, however, it evolved into a show in the year 2000. It has since become an annual tradition and has even garnered support from the Five Colleges.

 The event featured catered dining, a fashion show, and performances by student groups from across the Five College Consortium. The theme for this year’s event was “Hope.” Sarah Nam ASA co-chair said that the return to an in-person event was a big priority for the organization, as well as for them personally. “The Board chose this year’s theme to be ‘hope’ to serve as a gentle reminder that there are better things to come, especially for the members of our Pan-Asian community,” said Nam ASA co-chair. “We wanted to mark a celebration after returning from a very arduous year. For decorations we wanted to choose things that were full of light,” said Hiba Nawaid design coordinator.  According to Ayesha Binte Khalid, the outreach coordinator for ASA, it was not always clear that Mount Holyoke would host the event in this capacity this year, due to COVID-19 concerns. The largest question revolved around inviting guests from the five college area since they do not participate in the College’s testing program. Despite these concerns, the event was able to happen and involve members from the Five College area. 

The event began with a catered dinner. Food items included spicy rice cakes, lo mein, spring rolls, and chana masala. There were many options for vegetarians and vegans, as well as gluten-free. I am vegetarian and I had noodles, tofu, and a spring roll. My favorite food item was the spring roll, it had real avocado, which was a nice change from Blanch spring rolls, which contain guacamole.  I think this portion of the event was my favorite, Blanch food has not been good this semester, so it was nice to have good food for a change. For dessert, there was rice pudding as well as thai tea. Everyone at my table rated the rice pudding a 10/10. It was so sweet  – almost everyone at my table went for seconds. 

During dinner there was a fashion show walked by members of the ASA. Students came down the isles wearing traditional clothes. It was so cute to watch everyone walk past the isles and wave to their friends. After students made their way down the isles there was a show and tell about their item of clothing. Some of the traditional dress included the Indian Saree and the Ao Dai from Vietnam. I thought everyone looked really great and it was nice to have dinner and a show. 

Following the fashion show, there were dance performances from members of the Mount Holyoke Community, as well as groups from the Five College Area. Some of the groups performing included Mount Holyoke College Vietnamese Student Association, Kpop Dance Club at UMass Amherst, Jhumka, and Rainbow Jelly. My favorite performance was Rainbow Jelly. I think their energy was the highest. What made this performance, however, was the song choice. They danced to a mashup of  “Alcohol-Free” by Twice “Backdoor” by Stray Kids. The crowd was screaming the lyrics of the entire song. 

While I was attending this event, I was reminded of the Q&A portion from the Hortense Parker Celebration. Keynote speaker Zakiya Collier was asked how she would imagine what life would be like without digital collections documenting the history of people of color. She replied that she would imagine that history being shown through food or dance. I think that representation of history was seen through this event. Through the food that was served and through the various dance groups that performed through the night. It truly was an immersive event. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this event. I thought the food was very good. I left the event very full and energized by the dance performances.

ASA Board
VariAsians was held in Chapin Auditorium

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