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Year of the snake comes to the stage

By Emily Wishingrad
On January 29, 2013

It is the Year of the Snake, a year in which starvation is not an option, or so the Chinese horoscope says. It also says we will all survive this winter and have a healthy year. In the midst of the chilling temperatures on Friday evening, Levin Ballroom came alive as Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection presented a heart-warming and culturally enriching compilation of performances in honor of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The Chinese culture takes its New Year festivities seriously and Brandeis' BC3 did not disappoint. Levin's walls were strung with red ribbons, a lucky color traditionally highlighted in Chinese New Year festivities. The copious performances lasted for a lengthy two hours plus, but the audience remained attentive and enthusiastic until the very end.

One of the first performances was an all first-year dance, choreographed by Julie Yiu '13 and Thai Le '14, in which they were playfully introduced as a "special group of dancers who came all the way from Massell and North Quads." The dance, entitled "Girl and Guy Dance from Brandeis" featured a juxtaposed girls' dance and a guys' dance. The girls' dance incorporated chairs as props and bright shirts in a sexualized and upbeat performance. The guys' dance was equally sexualized. The crowd cheered and clapped loudly when the men stripped down to their tank tops.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Asian Dance Team performed a more traditional dance in which the dancers, wrapped in bright green, one-sleeved gowns gracefully slithered snakelike onto the stage. With a forest soundtrack in the background, the audience was transported into a wild yet peaceful natural landscape. As the program said, the dance depicted the growth of a bamboo forest in the spring rain. The MIT Asian Dance Team followed this piece with a modern dance with movements indicative of fire and danger. The dancers' red and black costumes flashed before the audience with intensity.

In the second half of the show, students performed a "Singing Reality Competition: The Voice," a take-off of the internationally popular reality show. Students acted out a skit featuring three different voice performances by Chen Zhang '15, Anni Long '16, Zhihao Liu '14 and Rayne Xie '14 and critiqued by judges Jing Liao '15, Jesse Jianran Zeng '15, Moshi Shi '15 and Yuan Duan '15. The crowd went wild during the performances and cheered even louder during the judges' comical commentary. The judges' comments were in Mandarin, however, and many non-Mandarin speaking members of the audience looked confusedly at the performers and audience, trying to get a hint of the reason for the laughter.

Perhaps the most sentimental part of the event was the video dedicated to the graduating members of BC3. Tributes to Steven Wong '13, Julie Yiu '13 and Jiaying Zhang '13 were made by their friends and acquaintances during their years at Brandeis and it was clear how crucial and influential each person was to the Brandeis community. The crowd cheered loudly for every senior as they received flowers. The excitement did not stop there, however; in the last clip of her tribute videos, Zhang's boyfriend proposed to her. Zhang stood on the stage, on speakerphone with her soon-to-be fiancé in order to accept his proposal. She did.

BC3's Lunar New Year Show was a fun celebration of the Chinese New Year, saying goodbye to the year of the dragon and hello to the year of the snake. In China, the new year celebration is typically a festive event shared with family and friends. BC3's show allowed for students to come together and celebrate with one another while being away from home.

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